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Week 24- Jesus’ Ministry vs. The Prophets

13 Mar

When do you suppose Jesus first knew what he was going to be when he grew up?  Every little child dreams about how he will be the one to rise above the social norms and make a better life for himself.  I’m sure Jesus was no exception.  But His story is a little different from every other child’s because he actually did it.

In Luke 4: 16-21, Jesus proclaims his ministry.  Jesus stands up to read from the Torah, or Bible.  He opens the scroll, (yes, I said scroll) and found where it was written:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  (Isaiah 61:1-2a)

He then proceeds to sit down.  At this point everyone is staring at him.  I’d be a little creeped out right now if I were him.  So Jesus explains that this scripture is now fulfilled. 

Jesus ministry is to be characterized by restoring the sight to the blind, setting the captives free, and giving hope to the broken hearted.  Jesus is there to proclaim good news for the poor and to proclaim the favor of God.  Just pick a chapter out the Gospels about Jesus’ ministry, and within the first five sentences it will be clear that Jesus fulfilled His ministry.  There are numerous occasions where Jesus healed the blind and sick, and freed captives from demon possession.  Jesus did what He said He was going to do.  Is this such a surprise?

In the modern world, Christians put on emphasis on Jesus’ sacrifice as part of His ministry.  At first glance that emphasis doesn’t appear to be in Jesus’ words.  We emphasize the redeeming works of His ministry.  This is what sets His ministry apart.

If Jesus just came to heal the sick, free the captives, and give hope to the poor, then He is nothing more than another prophet.  God sent the prophets to Israel.  What did they do?  They healed the sick, freed Israel (on multiple occasions), and preached of hope to come.  Jesus did all this too.  So what makes Him special?

If Jesus hadn’t died on the cross for man’s sins, then we would still be preaching of hope to come.  If Jesus hadn’t died, then there would be no hope to share.  Jesus did something to bring the hope.  The prophets preached of hope of a Savior.  Jesus was the Savior.  If Jesus hadn’t died and rose, then he would just be another prophet.

That is why Christians put on emphasis on the sacrifice of Jesus when talking about His ministry.  Without it, we might as well have a Church dedicated to Moses or Elijah.  We make the distinction between prophets, and the Savior.

My Church does believe in Jesus’ Ministry.  (Check out Fox Valley Church)  In our Constitution it says this about Him:

5.  We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins.  His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.

We believe in what He did for us.  In the Preamble it says this:

We, the members of Fox Valley Church, in order to carry out more effectively the commission given by Jesus Christ to His church, do establish the following Constitution to which we voluntarily submit ourselves.

We try to live out the commission of Jesus, which is as follows:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20

We live out His ministry.  Instead of giving sight to the literal blind, we give sight to those who don’t know about Jesus or their need for a savior.  Instead of healing the sick, we tell them of healing of God.  Instead of setting the prisoners free, we tell of the forgiveness of God as the solution to the bondage of sin.  We share the good news to everyone, and act in love towards all.  We try to live out Jesus’ ministry every day.

I know, saying it and doing it are two very different things.  Even if our Church claims to do all these things, that does not mean we do.  But our Church does do it.  We do live out our words.  No, we are not perfect.  Fox Valley Church is comprised of sinful people who can’t always do what is right.  We can’t be expected to live everything out perfectly.  But in our hearts we know what we are supposed to do.  We try to overcome our sinful habits and do what is right by God.  I believe it counts in God’s sight.

I agree fully with the mission of my Church.  I believe in the mission of Jesus, and the similar mission of the Church.  I am not perfect.  I will tell you now that I have not shared the gospel outright with a single person yet.  But I am trying to change that.  I am doing it in God’s timing and by His call.  I believe in my heart.  Now the next step is to show with my actions.  Even though I am not perfect, I believe that  Jesus fulfilled His ministry.  I believe that He died to rid man of his sin.

Jesus’ ministry is the best thing that ever happened.  He changed the world with it.  He went beyond the call of the prophets.  Do you think He knew He was going to do that when He grew up?

Veggie Tale Song: Larry’s High Silk Hat

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