Released 1 October 2012
Jesus’ articulation of his mission on earth is best expressed in his
inaugural address delivered in his hometown synagogue. Again, he identifies
with the poor.
‘When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to
the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and
the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and
found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because
he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim
release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the
oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
‘And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat
down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say
to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your
hearing”’ (Luke 4:16‐21 New Revised Standard
Early in his ministry, Jesus returned home to Nazareth. Rumours were
spreading about his teaching and miraculous powers. He was invited to speak at
the local synagogue where he had worshipped as a child. Jesus’ audience
that morning was filled with sceptics. ‘What is Mary and Joseph’s
son doing now? Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’
Sensing a special moment, Jesus took the occasion to lay out his mission. He
read the Hebrew text from the revered prophet Isaiah (61:1‐2). And when
he finished, Jesus rolled up the scroll and essentially said, ‘Let me
tell you what this means’.
Jesus and Justice
What is our mission?
Not what congregation we worship with, not what group we serve with, not
what training we have or what job is ours; all of these and more are vehicles
through which we may work out our mission, but what is my mission, your
Jesus was very clear on what he was about and, as a result, used all
opportunities and situations to further his mission. He was not dependent on
another to establish a framework through which he could work out his mission,
but instead he was aware, available, ready and committed to mission.
What is your mission?
Lord, may your Spirit be upon me to bring good news to the poor.
Lord, please give me a sense of mission that is worthy of you and that I can
purposely action. Give me insight, wisdom and energy to fulfil the mission you
guide me to, and faith and trust to work with you and for you and the people I
meet. Lord, where I lose hope or begin to fear, help me to remember that you
gave the mission and you are with me at all times. I may sometimes feel lonely,
but I will never be alone. God, please give me determination and let me find
partners with whom to share my mission. Lord, I choose not to be a receiver
only of your forgiveness, grace, mercy and love, but also a missioner who
serves through love with grace so that all people may know your forgiveness and
Take time for reflection:
Lord: What do you require of me? What is or will be my mission?
Lord: What insight or vision do you choose to give me concerning that
Lord: Lead me to obedience and trust so that I may fulfil the mission you
have given to me.
Thought: Take time to consciously sit in the presence of God and allow him
to impact your thinking and planning. Often we respond to the great need of our
age and ask God to bless the activity, but here is an opportunity to ask God to
‘direct our paths’ and move to mission.
Lord, we, your Church, engage in mission. We seek to serve you with our
tithes and offerings and our time and talents. We ask that those actions will
not become an end in themselves, but rather we will do all those things out of
a sense of love and compassion, expressed through mission. Lord, it is not
enough to be a passive actor in a group achieving good things. Help each member
of our congregation to be active in mission, seeking your direction to become
as involved as they are able and being a people of prayer who love and care for
those they serve.
WHEN: Eight‐year‐olds cannot read; families
cannot drink water without getting sick; HIV‐positive women cannot
protect their newborn babies; funerals displace preventable deaths,
WHEN: Children go to bed hungry seven nights a week;
parents bury their children because they died of malaria; women, young girls
and boys are exploited as sex slaves; workers labour for scandalous wages to
fashion designer clothes,
WHEN: The earth is abused without regard for future
generations; skin colour and social status padlock doors of opportunity; the
healthy and educated cannot use their strengths to work,
WHEN: The righteous and holy disregard the impoverished and
unclean; God’s compassion is closeted in sanctuaries and temples; the
strong and privileged disregard the weak and the oppressed.
THEN: Injustice rules; countless lives are squandered; our
shared humanity is disgraced; and darkness prevails.
THEN: We are part of the solution. Lord, grant us vision
and purpose expressed through mission.
Lord, I choose to be a person of mission and purpose! Lead