Lesson 3 Jesus Christ: Man With A Mission

“I come … to do thy will, O God” {Heb. 10:7; Psa. 40:7). Jesus had a mission in this life. As the supreme man of destiny He was ever mindful of the purpose for which He came. His life had a far higher purpose than to be taken up with nothing greater than eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting and building. That was the way of the doomed and the damned (Luke 17:28-29). He said, “I must work the works of Him that sent Me while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work” (John 9:4). Others were anxious about daily necessities, but He told His disciples to be seekers of the Kingdom of God rather than seekers of the ordinary things of life (Luke 12:22-31). He was true to that same mission.

He was straitened or constrained to complete that great work on the cross. “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished” (Luke 12:50). It was to this destiny that He steadfastly set His face (Luke 9:51). He constantly referred to “His hour.” They could not take His life beforehand because His hour was not yet come, but when it did come He knew it (John 12:23). He exclaimed on this occasion, “What shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But to this purpose I came to this hour” (John 12:27 NASB).

On the eve of His death, he said, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:4). On the cross He cried, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He was a man with a mission, and He finished that mission to the everlasting glory of God.

His Purpose: Coming With a Mission

Two thousand years ago the Son of God stepped across the threshold of eternity into time to become the Son of Man, the One sent by the Father to be the embodiment of every Messianic promise. His name Jesus (“Jehovah is Salvation”) spelled out the purpose of His incarnation. He was truly Immanuel (“God with us”). “A body Thou has prepared for Me,” said the Son (Heb. 10:5). That body was to be used by the Lord Jesus in the realization of God’s eternal plan. He came—

1. To Accomplish Redemption. The Lord was introduced to His future disciples as “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). He came “to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). God looked upon a suffering, dying, hell-bound humanity, and sent His well-beloved Son to save us. “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity” (Tit. 2:14).

2. To Put Away Sin. “The Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the Devil” (1 John 3:8). Messiah’s mission was to “make an end of sins” and “to bring in everlasting righteousness” {Dan. 9:24). Through death He brought to nothing him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil (Heb. 2:14). He abolished, or annulled, death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel (2 Tim. 1:10). The total defeat of sin, death and the Devil was brought about by our great Savior.

3. To Fulfill Scripture. Our Lord was ever mindful of the sacred character of the Word of God, and that it must be confirmed. Every detail of His life was conformed to the prophetic Word. His arrest by wicked men was seen as essential for “the Scriptures must be fulfilled” (Mark 14:49). It was this thought that moved Him to cry, “I thirst” (John 19:28), as He hung upon the cross. He said that twelve legions of angels stood by to come to His rescue against those who had seized Him. But this was morally impossible for Him. For “how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matt. 26:54).

4. To Establish His Church. As He tabernacled among men, Jesus accomplished yet another phase of His heavenly mission, the laying of the groundwork for the establishment of the Church. At the culmination of His teaching ministry, upon the confession of Himself as the Messiah, God’s Son, Jesus said, “Upon this Rock I will build My church” (Matt. 16:18). By preaching, teaching and training His disciples, the Lord prepared His disciples to co-labor with Him in the construction of His spiritual house. Our Lord laid down His life for His sheep from many folds, that they might become “one flock with one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).

His Perspective: Comprehending the Mission

Jesus never suffered from emptiness or despair, a common experience of those who lack meaning and purpose in life. True meaning comes with a sense of mission in life, particularly in connection with God and in the light of those realities which lie beyond time and earth. Jesus was a man with eternity in His heart in the truest sense (see Ecc. 3:11, marginal rendering). His life was lived with an eternal perspective, a vision of how events or actions here will count beyond time. He knew the accomplishment of His mission was of supreme importance. This sense of mission was a powerful motivating force and involved several elements.

1. His Priorities In Life. The Lord Jesus taught and exemplified the primacy of the Kingdom of God in the believer’s life (Matt. 6:33). His life was ordered by this concept of “seeking first the Kingdom of God.” He was always about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49). He never spoke an idle word or acted in a haphazard manner. His consideration of a possible course of action was not dominated by His own desires or by difficult consequences. He related every prospective action to the furtherance of His mission. That mission gave significance to whatever He did. Things that might have been good or harmless in themselves were not allowed to displace God’s best. Anything that would detract from the accomplishment of His goal was viewed as an encumbrance or weight. Although Jesus participated in the affairs of everyday life, as a soldier He never allowed them to entangle Him (2 Tim. 2:3-4).

2. His Burden For People. There are those who are indifferent to people, those who use people, and those who care for people. The Lord Jesus had a burden for them. They were on His heart. In fact, as one has said, His entire life and ministry could be summed up in the word “others.” Two illustrations picture for us the way in which He looked upon the multitudes. “And having seen the crowds, He was moved with compassion concerning them because they were exhausted by their troubles and their long, aimless wanderings, and had thrown themselves to the ground in an utterly prostrate condition as sheep having no shepherd” (Matt. 9:36 Wuest).

He lamented over the people who had rejected Him by crying “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not!” (Matt. 23:37). He yearned for the people in the terms of Psalm 23 to “lie down in green pastures” where He would fulfill their needs. He wanted to lead them “beside the still waters” where He might restore their souls. What a tender heart He had for others!

3. His Vision For Laborers. “Then saith He unto His disciples, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest” (Matt. 9:37-38). His burden reminded the Lord Jesus of His mission: to seek and save that which was lost. He had a sense of urgency about His work. The harvest must not be left to spoil in the field but must be gathered. The problem then, and the problem now, is that the laborers are few, too few for such a vast field. The Lord envisioned laborers being raised up and sent out (literally, “thrust out”) into the harvest. His disciples were enlisted as prayer partners to this end. Then He sent out those whom He had called to pray about the matter (Matt. 10).

His Perseverance: Carrying Out the Mission

Courageous persistence is essential in worthwhile accomplishment. Our Savior taught this in connection with prayer in the parables of the pleading friend and the unjust judge (Luke 11:5-8; 18:2-7). Great and noble missions have been abandoned because of discouragement in the face of difficulty. No one ever had a more formidable task than our Savior. Yet He did not quit. Said the prophet of Him, “He shall not fail nor be discouraged till He has set judgment in the earth” (Isa. 42:4).

1. His Commitment. The Lord Jesus was a man of conviction. He had deepseated beliefs concerning what was on the heart of God the Father. He was totally committed to the accomplishment of that purpose. Nothing, not even the cross, could stand in the way of His intrepid determination to fulfill His mission. “I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not My face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help Me; therefore shall I not be confounded; therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed” (Isa. 50:5-7). Our matchless Leader put His hand to the plow and refused to turn back in spite of the cost.

2. His Labor. During the days of His flesh, the Lord Jesus put “shoe leather” to His convictions. His attitudes resulted in action. Viewing Himself as a laborer, Jesus carried out His mission with dogged perseverance. “And Jesus was going about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness” (Matt. 9:35 NASB). Or again, “there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat” (Mark 6:31).

We read the touching words, “Jesus therefore, being wearied with His journey” (John 4:6). We sense this same fatigue when Jesus slept in a boat in the midst of a great storm (Mark 4:38). His labors often continued through the night. Diligence and hard work are written large over the life of Him who was the True Disciple.

3. His Selflessness. Jesus refused to set His mind on His own interests but rather the interests of God and His Kingdom. He was concerned also for the interests of others rather than His own. The attitude of Christ is set before us in Philippians 2:5-8 as our example. His self-emptying led Him from heaven to earth to die a criminal’s death for others. His disregard for His own welfare is seen throughout the four Gospels. Jesus said, “foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). Because the pressure of the multitudes at times prevented the Lord and His disciples from eating, His earthly relatives said, “He is beside Himself,” questioning whether He was even in His right mind (Mark 3:20-21).

But His food was to do the will of Him that sent Him (John 4:34). He forsook all, just as He taught His disciples to do. The Lord Jesus, like most of the population, both then and now, was a poor man. He became poor merely by coming to a scene such as this (2 Cor. 8:9). The soldiers at the foot of the cross gambled for all He possessed—the clothes on His back.

Conclusion

The New Testament records “all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (Acts 1:1). The Lord Jesus today continues to carry out His mission through His people. Having finished the mission given by His Father, He commissions His disciples, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

The resurrected Christ commands us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20). He continues to work through the people of God. Thus we become “workers together with God” as He builds His spiritual house (1 Cor. 3:9; 1 Pet. 2:5).

Lesson 3 Jesus Christ: Man With A Mission

1. According to the following verses, what was the mission of Jesus on earth?

Matthew 16:18

Mark 14:49

Luke 19:10

2 Timothy 1:10

What does it mean to you to have a vision of the Lord and His purposes for your life? By vision, we mean your awareness of God’s purpose for your life and service in the days to come, in the light of eternity. We mean also a compelling urge to see beyond the immediate circumstance’s concern.

3. What does Matthew 6:33 teach you about priorities in regard to the way you are now living. Compare this with the way you should he living as a follower of Jesus?

4. What can we learn from Luke 11:5-8? How can this be beneficial to our purposes and effect our action as disciples of Christ?

5. How has the awareness of your mission in life changed as a result of this lesson, if it has? What changes do you plan to make in your life as a result of this lesson?