Monday, December 21, 2015

Finding Christmas: The Mission Statement

It was Chicago, October, 2003. I was attending a conference for Christian healthcare workers. One of the speakers used Isaiah 61 as the basis for his talk, and it changed how I saw Jesus and my obedience to Him. 

In a subtle way, I had begun to think of Jesus as mostly a healer of physical ills. He healed everywhere He went. He's the Great Physician. I saw the miraculous healings and, in a subtle way, mistakenly thought they were the "main thing", but they were not. Jesus made that clear from the start.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to aptives,
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord...
                                     Isaiah 51:1-2 nasb

You probably remember this passage. It's Jesus' "mission statement." Hundreds of years after it was written, Jesus stood in the synagogue in Nazareth and read Isaiah 61:1-2. "Today, this is fulfilled in your presence," He told those listening. 

It didn't go well. Before he was through talking, the men there that day tried to throw him off a cliff. 

They wanted Jesus' miraculous healings. They wanted His water-into-wine trick. They didn't want to hear His good news or His proclamation of liberty.

He came to spread the good news of freedom in Christ. 

Christ did not come to tout a set of rules or beat us into submission.

He came to set us free. 

He did not come to heal all our sickness or remove all our sorrow.

He came to proclaim liberty to those bound by sin and its consequences.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this year, let's also celebrate the work He came to do... proclaiming, declaring, offering freedom, providing balm and binding hurt.

If we are to follow Him, we, too, must embrace the work He came to do. We, too, must make bringing the good news of Christ to a dark and perishing world our highest priority. Every other action must be made with the proclamation of truth as its objective.

My pastor said something yesterday that pretty much sums this up. "God was so excited about His plan to send Jesus that He couldn't wait to tell it. He announced it seven hundred years before He did it. If God was that excited about the coming of Christ, shouldn't we also be excited to tell the world?" 

We have good news and it's worth sharing. This Christmas, let's be sure to proclaim the best news of all. 

Christ has come. Christ has risen. Christ is coming again. Hallelujah.

The most read post of the last week: Finding Christmas: The Good Husband.
#GoodNews #Advent #keepChristinChristmas #MerryChristmas #JesusChrist #disciple,#Wordbecameflesh #