GOD'S STORY: The Mission of Jesus
1: Three stories that help us get a glimpse of the mission of Christ
2: Story #1 begins with Jesus after he has been baptized by John then fasted for 40 days in the desert only to be tempted by the devil himself.
3: Once Jesus passed these tests he went to his home town of Nazareth to state his mission and begin his ministry.
4: On the Sabbath day Jesus went to the local synagogue.
5: He stood up to read.
3: He opened up a scroll of the prophet Isaiah
1: He read out loud
4: The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
2: because he has anointed me
1: to preach the good news to the poor.
3: He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
5: and recovery of sight for the blind,
2: to release the oppressed,
4: to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor!
1: He stopped and rolled up the scroll.
5: The people waited in anticipation for his wisdom to unpack this Scripture
3: But Jesus said something that no one expected. Jesus said’
2: “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your presence.”
5: What is that supposed to mean?
3: Who does he think he is?
4: Isn’t this Joseph’s son?
1: But now that Jesus piqued their curiosity and has them muttering, he drops the bomb
2: First, he comments that a prophet is without honor in his hometown
3: Second, he refers to the widow that Elijah helped. She was not an Israelite. She was an outsider. God did not send Elijah to any of the widows in Israel.
4: Third, he points out that Elisha was sent to heal Naaman the Syrian of leprosy! There were many in Israel with leprosy but God chose an outsider again! An enemy of Israel.
5: At this, the crowd went into a rage!
1: Some already wanted him dead.
3: But Jesus walked right through the mess and went his way.
2: What were they upset over?
4: Why the rage?
1: Jesus was pointing out that in the Isaiah passage that
2: the poor
3: the prisoners
4: the blind
5: and the oppressed
1-5: were ALL to receive God’s good news!
3: This was NOT limited to just ONE nation
1: But now is available to ALL nations
2: We live in the time when we can ALL receive the Lord’s favor!
4: And for that Jesus was preaching a radical and inclusive message of God’s love for all people!
5: Jesus initiates the “good news” or better yet the gospel of God’s grace for all!
1: Story #2 happens in the darkness of night
2: While the religious leaders were very much opposed to Jesus and his message
3: There was one from among the Pharisees who needed to find out more
4: He had questions
5: He wanted to understand Jesus’ message for himself
4: Nicodemus caught up with Jesus one night and recognized that Jesus had to of come from God because of the miracles he was performing.
1: Jesus said to him
2: I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
3: Born again??? What does that mean? How can anyone be “born again”? It is not like we can return back to our mother’s womb?
5: Jesus is surprised that Nicodemus is not getting this. He explains,
2: You cannot enter the kingdom of God unless you are born of water and the Spirit!
1: The water symbolizes our natural, physical birth
2: The spirit symbolizes our SPIRITUAL birth
4: Nicodemus is still confused as to how one becomes born again
1: But Jesus foreshadows what is to come in order to make this happen. Jesus says,
2: The Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life!
5: Jesus knew the ultimate sacrifice he would have to make so that we would receive our spiritual birth.
4: But why would Jesus do this? What was the motivation behind all this talk?
3: Jesus announces the driving force behind this great scheme to rescue the lost.
2: It is God’s LOVE for ALL the world that compels him to give up his one and only Son,
1: so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish but instead have eternal life!
5: Jesus recognizes that there are two paths that a person can chose
1: One leads to darkness, separation from God, a lifestyle of evil deeds, a person who stands condemned under the justice of God
2: Another leads to living into the light, being reconciled, restored and put into a right relationship with to God.
3: A life that is lived in full view of God’s light is one that demonstrates that what a person makes of this one small life has been done through God!
4: God loves, God restores, God reconciles, and God empowers us to live for him!
5: This is the good news that Jesus brings to Nicodemus, the gospel of God’s grace! His riches given to us through Christ’s work.
1: Our 3rd story takes us to a well.
4: Instead of a highly respected teacher, now Jesus confronts a person with many bad strikes against her.
2: Jesus is at a well in the middle of the day by himself.
5: When all of a sudden a lone Samaritan woman comes to the well to get some water.
3: Most women go in the cool of the morning as a group to look out for each other.
1: This woman knew that for her, that would be a bad idea.
5: For her reputation has destroyed enough relationships that she feared some of these women.
2: It was better to go alone when she would be least likely to run into anyone.
4: As she approached the well she noticed that there was a person.
1: Oh great! A man. As if I haven’t gotten myself in enough trouble with men already. I hope this guy doesn’t give me any trouble.
5: Oh no! It looks like he is a Jew also. So not only does he think he is superior to me because I am a woman but now he will despise me because I am a Samaritan.
3: Well, at least he will choose to just ignore me if he knows what is best for him!
1: But Jesus asked,
2: Hey, can you give me a drink of water?
3: Why would this guy ask me for a favor? A Jewish man never speaks to a Samaritan woman let alone ask for a favor. And why are you talking to me?
1: Jesus said,
2: If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him for living water.
3: Oh great. A salesman. So there’s bottled water, purified water, flavored water and now this guy wants to con me into buying his “living” water. Yeah, whatever.
2: But this living water will make it so that you are never thirsty again and it will become like a spring within yourself welling up to eternal life!
3: Okay, I will play his game. Alright sir, you got me! I would love to have some of this water so I never have to come down here every day to get this water.
1: But Jesus said,
2: Go get your husband and then come back.
3: Oh great, he had to go there. Well let’s see. Who should I go get. Well technically I am not actually married at the moment so let’s just get this over with.
4: I don’t have a husband.
5: Jesus replied,
2: Well thanks for being honest. At the moment you do not have a husband because you have already gone through 5 husbands, and now, the guy you are with, you are not even married to him.
3: Busted. I did not see that coming. A Jewish prophet. Just what I need.
4: You know, the problem with you guys is that you tell us Samaritans that the only true place to worship God is in Jerusalem. So how am I supposed to do that?
2: Well, the time has now come that true worshippers will worship God in spirit and truth! It is not about the external location more than it is about the heart and mind of a person transformed by God!
3: Well mister. That sounds good and all. I suppose one day the long-awaited Messiah will explain all of this to us.
2: Excuse me ma’am. But that is exactly who I am.
5: The darkness is shattered, the proverbial light bulb turns on! Jesus reveals who he is to this Samaritan woman with a bad reputation.
4: Her immediate reaction was to NOT isolate herself from people, but instead to run back to her community and share the good news of Jesus!
3: This is the good news that Jesus brings to the Samaritan woman, the gospel of God’s grace! Spiritual water that always satisfies and that is sustaining us for eternal life!
2: Jesus’ ultimate mission was yet to come. But it is through his work where God’s grace and love are poured out on all people.
1: Have you received the good news, the gospel of Jesus for yourself?
3: Do you know that you have been born again through Christ’s work?
5: Are you living in darkness, always hiding your sins?
2: Or are you living in the light, proud of the fact that God is working in and through you?
4: Do your appetites for this world get you into trouble?
1: Or is your appetite for life fully satisfied in God’s work of empowering you to live for Him?
3: For if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord”,
1: and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then