BIBLE STUDY LESSON # 38...AUGUST, 15 , 2010
"The Three Commandments of Christ
Fulfilling Jesus’ Mission on Earth
Part I: Christ’s Mission Statement"
As Tim stated so eloquently in his many lessons, the end times are fast approaching and, as such, the fulfillment of Christ’s mission to the world. And, as Marty has stressed in his last three lessons, Satan is on the prowl trying to find those he can devour.
Understanding that we needed guidance as we fight against the god of this world, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to teach us how to win the ultimate battle with the world. As He taught us through parables and many wondrous signs, Christ commanded us to do three things – love God completely, love our neighbors as ourselves, and to make disciples of all men -thus, the three commandments.
However, we must first understand Christ’s mission here on earth. We need to understand that Christ’s Mission Statement should and must be our mission statement as well. Once we accept this as our creed then we can more easily follow Christ’s commandments.
Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it is written:
“the Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Before we look at Christ’s bold statement of His mission, we need to take a quick look at what had happened prior to His making this statement. As we read that Jesus returned, we ask ourselves, “Where was He returning from?” Quite simply, Jesus was returning from His time in the desert where He had fasted and prayed for forty days and then confronted Satan and his many attempts to seduce Christ into denying His mission Before He could embark upon His mission, Christ first had to face and defeat His enemy thus emboldening Himself for the task at hand – bringing salvation and forgiveness to God’s children.
Now let us proceed with our examination of Christ’s statement.
First, and foremost, Jesus said that He was “anointed to preach the gospel to the poor”. But, who are the poor? And, why did He come to preach to the poor and not just give them money, food, or clothing?
Unfortunately, many of us here in America have no real concept as to what it means to be poor. We have been so blessed to live in a prosperous and free nation that our view of the poor is tainted. True, we have the homeless and the ghettos and certain areas in the Appalachia’s and on many reservations; but, we seem to think that all we need to do is throw money at the situation and it will go away – at least, our consciences will not bother us. However, money alone is not the solution. If that were the case, countries, such as Haiti, who depend on foreign aid, would not be faced with the daily threats of starvation and disease.
There are many other forces contributing to the poverty around the world that we as Americans are not so easily susceptible to. These contributing forces are the lack of food, education, sanitary conditions, security, and, most importantly, hope.
With an understanding way beyond that which we are capable of conceiving, Christ stated that we would always have the poor with us. But, He also made it clear that we are to minister to them thus providing them with the hope that they may overcome their sense of helplessness and dependence on others. With Christ’s anointing to preach the gospel to the poor comes our calling to do likewise. In every possible way we are to minister to the poor – through witnessing, providing financial and spiritual support, providing safe and sanitary water, providing hospitals and medicine to help fight disease, and teaching them how to grow better crops or learn a trade or skill that would allow them to provide for themselves (basically provide them with the hope and encouragement so desperately needed for their long-term survival).
A discussion of the poor alone would take several weeks, maybe even months, to fully understand their plight. Therefore allow me to recommend a wonderfully insightful book, The Hole in the Gospel.
Secondly, Christ said that He had come to heal the brokenhearted. Unconditionally, Christ is telling us that we must show compassion to all if we are to be His disciples; even if it means befriending an enemy in their time of need. As we will see in next week’s lesson, we are commanded by Christ to love our neighbor as ourselves – possibly the hardest thing we are willing to try.
Thirdly, Christ came to help the blind to recover their sight. Obviously, this contains a two-fold message. To the best of our ability we are to provide the physically blind with whatever opportunities exist to enable them to see (This could be through the providing of glasses for those whose eyesight is impaired or through providing the funds needed for restorative surgery.). Likewise, we are commissioned to proclaim the gospel to those blinded by the world – to open their eyes to the beauty and majesty of God.
Next, Jesus says that He has come to set the captives free: to proclaim liberty to the captive and to free the oppressed. Essentially, Christ is telling us to help those oppressed by sin to free themselves from their shackles and rejoice in the Mercy and Grace of God.
Finally, Christ says we are to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. But, what is the acceptable year of the LORD? Historically, many say that Jesus was referring to that specific time when His ministry began. Personally, I believe it to mean the present year and any year wherein we readily and willingly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
John 10:10b “I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
This is only a brief description of Christ’s mission statement. However, I urge everyone as well as myself to accept this as our mission statement also. We are called to be Christ-like and to show others how to overcome the world and the oppressive plights it has to offer.
This is not a call for money, but a call to action. Each one of us has something to bring to this fight; and it is indeed a fight. All Believers are called to take up their cross and follow Christ- walking the walk as well as talking it. Partnered together as the body of Christ, we can rejoice in knowing that the end time is the ultimate fulfilling of Christ’s Mission Statement and the final defeat of Satan and his minions.
The mission is yours if you chose to accept it. Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Son, Jesus. We thank You for His loving acceptance of His mission. Father, we just ask that You will empower us with the ability and devotion needed to accept this Mission as our own. In the beautiful name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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