Episode 166: This is Why
Simon and his companions searched for Him and when they found Him they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” And He said to them, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.” (Mark 1:36-38)
Before we move on to chapter two, let’s summarize what has happened so far. Jesus was affirmed by God the Father and the Holy Spirit. He was commissioned into His ministry when He was baptized. He was tempted in the wilderness and came out victorious. He began building His team when He called the first few disciples. He began teaching in the synagogue and He began healing the sick an casting out demons. That’s just chapter one in this heralded story that Mark calls the good news, the gospel of Jesus.
But let’s not skip over this statement by Jesus in verse 38. Jesus is coming off a day when the whole town had come to Him for miraculous healing and rescue from demon possession. This crowd came to Jesus for the benefits of His miracles, not to hear His teaching. After this, we see Jesus get up early in the morning to isolate Himself with God in prayer. This time helped to renew His spirit and focus Him back on the mission at hand. When Peter and the crew showed up to find Jesus, they were trying to bring Him back to perform more miracles. Jesus put them on track with the real purpose for His coming.
Jesus came to preach the message of repentance and deliverance. “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Jesus knew the message was more important than any miracle He would perform. The miracles, great and small, were mere physical examples of the spiritual healing that was needed and could only be provided through repentance of sins and belief in Jesus. The mission of Jesus was to bring the Word of God to the people. He wasn’t sent as a healer of the sick although He was more than capable. He wasn’t sent to overthrow the government, although He had the authority and power to do so. Jesus wasn’t sent to take over the priesthood. After all, He was already the great High Priest. Jesus came as the living Word of God and the perfect sacrifice for sin.
This simple mission statement of Jesus should be the central mission of His church today. When I ask people what they are looking for in a church, we often hear a list of things that have nothing to do with the Word of God. People will list the style of music, the size of the church, the way people dress in the church, the religious traditions, the length of the service, or the style of preaching, the childcare services available, and even whether or not they have free coffee and donuts. As many times as I have asked people what they look for in a church, very rarely have I heard people lead with, “I’m looking for a church that puts the Word of God as a priority.”
Shame on us for allowing the local church to become a buffet of benefits for consumption. We have buildings like Peter’s house where the whole town has shown up for miracles. Their hands are open for the benefits but their ears are closed to the message. It won’t be long before Jesus moves on from the crowded house to the open audience. Let us be a people who put the message of Jesus as the mission of the church. Let us focus our efforts on bringing the Word of God to the masses. Let’s have the benefits of the local church be the overflow, not the main attraction.
Love Y’all! Be Blessed!