It’s a common thing to hear Christians say, “Come Lord Jesus!” We look at the world around us and see so much corruption and brokenness and we just want Jesus to come and fix it for us by taking us home to be with him. I have been guilty of that myself until a while back when I was at a women’s conference and heard a different perspective on this desire of ours. One of my favorite Bible teachers, Christine Caine, posed this question: How could we be so eager for Jesus to come back so quickly when so many people we see around us are utterly lost in sin? It was a very convicting question for me. Our desire for Jesus to come back soon is so selfishly driven and absolutely not like the character of Jesus. We want to go and be with Jesus, meanwhile we are completely content to leave the rest of the world in the lost state that it is in.
After Jesus’ resurrection, he spent time with his disciples and before he ascended they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) He answered them saying, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (vv. 7-8) If I could reword this conversation it would go like this: The disciples ask Jesus, “Are you going to fix everything now?” Jesus replies, “This is what I need YOU to do...”
Often, we focus on the fact that Jesus came to die for our sins, and rightly so, but we forget that his purpose was so much greater than that. Jesus fulfilled this prophecy from the prophet Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
(Luke 4:18-19 NASB)
This is the work that the Father sent the Son to this earth to do: to proclaim the good news, free the captives, help the blind to see, free the oppressed, and proclaim the coming judgment of God. In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus tells his disciples,
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and 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.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
His final words to his followers were a charge for them to get busy. Not to wait for him, not to just go about their lives thankful for their own salvation, but to wait for the Holy Spirit to come to them, and to get to work! Jesus’ charge to his followers did not stop with the disciples, rather it is something expected of us as well. While we are still living in the fallen world we live in, we are to be about our Father’s business, not walking around with our heads in the clouds waiting for Jesus to come back. Every single day, we encounter people who are captive, blind, lost, brokenhearted, and oppressed. If we believe we don’t, we need to open our eyes.
One problem is that when we do try to fulfill his commission, we fail miserably because we rely solely on our own strength and understanding instead of relying on the power of the Holy Spirit. We have not been left alone to figure this all out on our own. Jesus didn’t ask us to do anything without first showing us how to do it or without empowering us through his Spirit. We can see through his encounters with people how we should encounter the lost of this world. He met their physical needs, he restored their dignity, gave them value. He cared for them and loved them. Sometimes he rebuked them. For some, it may have been the simple fact that he spoke to them when society had cast them aside that meant the most to them.
Jesus told his disciples that his food is to do the will Of his Father. (John 4:24) What he meant was that doing the will of his Father is the only thing that truly satisfies him. My prayer is that we will share that sentiment, that we can honestly say that the only thing that brings us real satisfaction is to do the will of our Father.
Central Church of Christ
Del Rio, TX