Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities. And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
Following up on our previous post, where Jesus announced His mission statement in Luke 4, we now find Christ in full ministry mode as reported by Matthew’s gospel above. He is doing exactly what He set out to do, which Isaiah prophesied more than 500 years before! He is accomplishing God’s two-fold will for Him at that time: Preaching the gospel and changing lives through miracles! God’s love was manifested to people not only in His message but also in His actions.
THE WORKS OF CHRIST were so evident, powerful and unique that word spread out all over the region. Mass communications and the Internet didn’t exist then; yet, His fame grew, crowds followed and even in the isolation of prison, John the Baptist heard reports. The wonderful testimonies his two disciples brought back after being with Jesus must have encouraged him tremendously. He himself was bound and suffering. But God’s plans were unfolding through the One he had proclaimed all his life!
Amid its present trials and turmoil, our world needs to know/remember that God is on His throne, sovereign over all evil. Jesus glorified His name by saving souls, healing bodies, breaking bondages and doing good 2,000 years ago; He still does. People need to be pointed to the Savior, THE miracle-worker, the Good News for all mankind. Jesus is truly who He says He is; we don’t have to look for another. He is the fulfillment of Isaiah 61, the Chosen One who brings forgiveness of sins and freely offers eternal life!
But how will they know if you and I don’t believe it first, if we don’t speak up? Paul explains that predicament eloquently in Romans:
“For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
Jesus performed marvelous works while on earth. Then He left; but the mission isn’t over. That is why we, the Church, are here to represent Him and follow in His footsteps. We are called to minister as He did, through works of evangelization and works of compassion.
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
Our Lord’s commission to His disciples after His resurrection has been the marching orders for thousands of Christian missionaries through centuries. However, these words are not limited to overseas missions. As followers of Christ (disciples), whether at home, at work, hanging out with friends, playing sports or music, walking our neighborhoods, cities and nations, WE ARE ON A MISSION! That is our mission statement, the purpose of our life: being a living epistle read by all men, testifying of the goodness and greatness of God!
We must be Jesus’ hands and feet, express His heart of love in concrete actions and proclaim His message of hope to all. Lastly, we must allow Him to use us to perform miracles in our day, in order to confound worldly wisdom, to expose the false gods people worship and to bring His holy name to reputation again!
Nothing will change, despair will grow and darkness will thicken, if believers don’t get more serious about faith in daily life (not only on Sundays) and if they refuse to take their responsibilities as God’s representatives to “tend and keep” our planet (Gen. 2:15), filled with and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit (John 20:22)!
Irish philosopher and statesman Edmund Burke put it this way: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” May we hear the cry of our generation for a Church that rises up to the challenge of this dark period and performs by His grace and for His sole honor, the works of Christ!