We preach about Jesus’ mission in terms of his dying on the cross. But before he went to the cross, Jesus declared that he had completed the work God had given him to do.

At the end of Jesus’ ministry, Israel was full of people who had not yet heard the good news of the Kingdom. There were lepers unhealed. Many people were still blind and lame. Jesus had not yet suffered and died on the cross, yet he pronounced his life’s work complete.

Jesus’ mission was revealing God to his disciples. God had chosen the Twelve out of the world to be Jesus’ comrades. Jesus taught them what God had taught him. He protected them from the Enemy. And they became obedient to God’s word.

Jesus could not preach to every soul. He could not heal every infirm body. A nation of messengers was needed to carry to the world the good news of God’s love and forgiveness.

God had raised up a people to carry his message of love and forgiveness to the whole world. That people proved unwilling. Jesus declared that the Kingdom would be given to a new people. This nation would be made up of people willing to bear witness. God raised up that nation from the disciples who followed Jesus closely.

Jesus did not build an empire around himself. He multiplied himself through his disciples. He laid aside ego and ambition and poured himself into the Twelve. He prepared them to continue the work he could not finish himself.

Completing God’s Kingdom was too large a task for one person. But Jesus would not have had the chance to complete it anyway. His message had set him on a collision course with God’s enemies.

Jesus’ message led him directly to the cross. He dreaded the suffering that was to come. He asked God to deliver him from that horrible end. Yet he was willing to endure that agony for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

Jesus could have walked away from Jerusalem that night. But that would have been self-serving. Jesus had given himself – body and soul – to God’s work in the world. He freely chose suffering for God over his own well-being. God’s mission was more important to him than even his own life.

Jesus was not casual about his relationship with God. He was not just concerned about the Kingdom. Jesus was consumed with God’s mission of reconciling the world to himself. His every waking moment was occupied with thoughts of the Kingdom. Every breath was drawn to share the good news of love and forgiveness. All his strength was poured out to bring others back into harmony with God. There was no other path.

Like God’s son, God’s people are consumed with his Kingdom, or they are not God’s people. They serve God, or they serve his Enemy.

Read it for yourself!
John 4.34; John 6.39; John 17.4-21

Think about it!
Emil Brunner said: “A church exists by mission as a fire exists by burning.” What do you think that means? Do you agree or disagree?

Would you say you personally are consumed with God’s kingdom or just concerned?

What does God’s Word say about Christians or churches that aren’t consumed with his mission?

Next installment
08 – Jesus’ enemies

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