Intro: All through the week I was waiting on the Lord to give me the message He wants us to hear today. As Sunday was drawing near, I still had no clear word from the Lord. Thank God, in our reading from “Everyday with Jesus Bible” yesterday, the Lord impressed in my heart what He wants us to hear today. I believe the timing is perfect because we are sending Frank and Grace away and commissioning them to be on mission with Jesus. Grace is joining the army and will encounter many men and women. After her training the Lord already has a plan to assign her to another military base. She will be a co-missionary with Jesus to bring the good news. I believe she is ready in the short time since she was saved last year to be sent out to Judea and Samaria and even to the ends of the earth. She has been discipled, equipped how to share the gospel and has led two of the grandchildren of Frank to Christ and was recently baptized. She is now ready to be sent to the battlefield in the Lord’s army. She will not be alone in this battle because it is the Lord’s battle. She will not be fighting against flesh and blood but rescuing the perishing held by the devil and sin. She will go on the authority of Jesus together with Him on mission. And this is her mission order,
“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.” Acts 1:8
But this is not just for her and Frank but to all of us who are here in Reno, being our Jerusalem, to be witnesses unto Jesus. Every believer has the Holy Spirit in them, but notice what the word says, “When the Holy Spirit comes on you.” This is empowerment by the Holy Spirit for ministry as witnesses for Jesus. Just as Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit right after His baptism to start off His ministry, we too must be filled with the Spirit to be powerful witnesses for Jesus to a lost world. This is the third phase of our purpose “to make Him known.” We become effective witnesses to Jesus when we have grown to knowing Him and are becoming like Him. And from our study in “Experiencing God” we will be invited by God to join Him in His work of redemption for this is what we are saved for. As we grow in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, dying daily to ourselves, only then will the Holy Spirit have full control to give us the power and words to fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. Today we will look at how Jesus fulfilled His mission and how He continues His mission through us.
“Jesus the Missionary”
“One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake”…They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places…The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:22, 26-29, 38-39
Jesus set the captives free:
God the Son came down from heaven, lived in a body prepared for Him in the flesh to free those who are held and enslaved by the devil. They have no power to free themselves and they need to be delivered by a power greater than the one who is holding them captive. Just like when God sent Moses back to Egypt to free the descendants of Abraham held in slavery by Pharaoh. Similarly, in the spiritual realm all humanity are prisoners held by the devil. We have all been given to disobedience because of our sinful nature. The only one who can set us free has to have power greater than the one who is holding us. And God is the only one who can do that. God sent His one and only Son for this very purpose.
“Since children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” Heb. 2:14-17
Jesus came for this very purpose to fulfill what has already been prophesied about Him in the OT and has accomplished all these through the cross.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn.” Isa. 61:1-2
God the Fathers draws people to Jesus.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Luke 8:42b-48
As Jesus was going about His mission, He revealed to His disciples that the work He was doing was not His own. He was only doing the will of His Father by joining His Father in His work of redemption. Jesus said,
“My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself, he can do only what he sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the son also does.” John 5:17, 19
Who was at work in this woman who was bleeding for twelve years? God was. What was her condition? She was already bankrupt spending all her money on doctors that could not heal her. But when she touched Jesus, she was immediately healed. What drove her to go to Jesus? Her faith. This faith was from God, we call saving faith. It was not from her and even her coming to Jesus was from God. Here’s what Jesus said about this,
“No one can come to me unless the Father draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44
The last day is when she dies in the body. Her spirit will be raised up to join Jesus in heaven. What is the assurance of her salvation? What Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you, Go in peace.” Jesus gave her His peace and she was now at peace with God. The power that came out of Jesus was power for her salvation. Jesus knew it and she had to confess it with her mouth. After her experience of healing she fell at his feet trembling in reverential fear confessing Jesus as her Lord. That’s how one gets saved.
The Holy Spirit gives life through Jesus.
“Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of twelve, was dying… While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher any more.” Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. He parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.” Luke 8:40-42a, 49-56
This is another account of Jesus raising the dead to life. All of these physical events that happened has a spiritual significance and consequence. What people witnessed was to confirm the claims of Jesus who He was and what he can do. This third account shows that He is the only one who gives life to our dead spirit. This is the condition of every man as revealed to us by Paul.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to lived when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Eph. 2:1-2
This child was not only physically dead but spiritually dead as well. God sent Jesus to this poor girl of twelve to give her life. Jairus, her father is a believer in Jesus to have called Him to heal her daughter. God used this death to be a testimony that Jesus is the one who gives life. Again the apostle Paul affirmed this in his letter to the churches of Jesus Christ.
“But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Eph. 2:4-5
All these three accounts revealed Jesus, who He was and what he came to do. He delivered a man possessed by the devil. Did this man have power to deliver himself and be set free? No. That is just like all of us. We may have been enslaved by different sins and vices that we had no power to free ourselves. Then there is this woman who has used all her resources to spend on doctors and could not heal her. When she had nothing left, then she came Jesus who was now her only hope. She had to put all her trust in Him alone to save her by just even touching the edge of His garment. Then there is this young girl who is dead. What can she do? Nothing. But God by His grace made her spirit alive and gave back her physical life.
All these are in fulfillment of what was already revealed about Jesus. This is a testimony to the world about Jesus and by believing they may have life. The apostle John and the other gospel writers wrote for this purpose.
John 20:30-31“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
Did Jesus cease to be a missionary? No. He is still at work to this very day. He is working through those He has saved and given the Holy Spirit known also as the Spirit of Christ to empower them to do what He did. In fact it is Jesus who does the work through us when we put our full trust and faith in Him. Notice the responses of the first two of the accounts, the one delivered from demon possession and the woman who was bleeding for twelve years.
The one released from demon possession begged to follow Jesus. Instead Jesus gave him a command to go home and tell how much God has done for him. I believe that everyone who has experienced salvation will follow Jesus and cannot keep the greatest thing Christ has done for them, salvation of their soul and not tell others. The first ones they would want to be saved are their love ones, then their friends and then to anyone whom the Lord will bring to their path. The woman who was healed is a picture of one who is drawn by the Father to His Son and by what she has experienced publicly confess with her mouth Jesus Christ as Lord. There are no secret followers of Jesus and they will not be ashamed to share the gospel that saved them.
The last one who was brought back to life and those who were with Jesus were told not to tell anyone what has happened? Was Jesus contradicting Himself? No, because He has not yet fully accomplished what would save the rest of the world. He had to die first and then be raised from the dead. This is the good news that everyone who has experienced God’s salvation is to tell. This is the gospel that saves and gives eternal life.
“That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4
Now we can tell because Jesus has accomplished what he came for. Before He died, He cried out to His Father and heard by those who were at the cross, “It is finished.” He has done the will of God and finished the work. God accepted His sacrifice and raised Him from the dead on the third day. He is alive and is back to His throne in heaven with the sole authority to save. His work of salvation continues but who will work with Him? Everyone who has the Spirit of Christ in them is called to be a co-missionary with Him. And this is how He will continue His work of redemption.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:12-13.
What will glorify most the Father through the Son? When we continue to do the work of God in redemption. What is the prayer that we may ask that Jesus will certainly answer? Will we respond as Isaiah did?
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” He said, “Go and tell this people.” Isa. 6:8-9a
Will you answer the call and make this your prayer today?