Rethinking the True Mission of Jesus Christ

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  September 21, 2013

            Jesus was never just interested in saving souls for heaven. He came to earth to accomplish some very important things and our salvation was never the main—or certainly not the only—reason for the sacred ministry of Jesus Christ.
            After growing up in Nazareth, leaving town to receive his baptism by John in the River Jordan, and spending 40 days in the desert preparing for the monumental ministry task ahead, Jesus returned to his hometown to announce his calling. The 4th Chapter of Luke describes this traumatic day in the life of Jesus. During the weekly gathering at the synagogue, he read from Isaiah 61 and then boldly interpreted the prophetic reading in terms of his own life and ministry.
            Jesus came to preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom to those in bondage, open the eyes of the blind, and make God’s blessings real and tangible on earth. For this the Spirit of the Lord had anointed him on the day of his baptism and this mission would then guide his life for the remaining years of his earthly ministry.
            Salvation easily, and appropriately, fits into this grand ministry. The Good News of Jesus Christ ultimately ends in the reality that through his sacrifice on the cross we are saved. Of that, let there be no doubt. Yet, salvation is a mere consequence of Jesus’ ministry, not the reason for his ministry.
            This is important when Christians dare to proclaim faith in Jesus Christ. To do so requires far more than simply claiming security in the knowledge that we are saved, born again, and forgiven in Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus Christ requires that we all take seriously the ministry to which he was called—the ministry of Isaiah 61!
            It forces us to ask the difficult questions of faith. Do we, as Christians, represent blessing to those who are outcast, in bondage, or struggling in life? Is our Christian witness a sign of hope to those who do not know peace, suffer the ravages of inequality, poverty, war, discrimination, hatred, and or abuse? Do we, who profess a faith in Jesus Christ live to empower, encourage, and strengthen others?
            Too often Christians limit the ministry of Jesus Christ to eternal salvation and—by the way we live our everyday lives, treat others in our world, and express our faith to those outside of the church and its doctrines—ultimately fail to express the true nature of who Jesus is and what he represents!
            By virtue of the miracle of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as described in Acts Chapter 2, the same Spirit that anointed Jesus on the day of his baptism also anoints Christians to fulfill the prophetic calling of Isaiah 61.
             This is the hard work of being a Christian. It is, perhaps, the difficult cross we must bear when we take on the true nature of Jesus Christ and seek to empower the poor, outcast, marginalized, dispossessed, downtrodden, and broken souls of this world. In many (but certainty not all) cases, these people are not in our churches either. Many have been pushed out of church by judgment, guilt, shame, and a whole host of evil actions cleverly disguised in religious language or doctrine.
           What are we, in the name of Jesus Christ, doing to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ in our day?