THIS WEEK: A Mission-Minded Person Has a Caring Heart!
Jesus could have spent his whole ministry healing the sick, feeding the hungry or driving out demons.
But he didn’t.
It wasn’t that addressing these needs wasn’t important, it was. Jesus spent a good part of his ministry doing just that…healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and driving out demons. Jesus was concerned about human suffering.
But Jesus knew behind human suffering was a spiritual issue. Directly or indirectly suffering in this world is caused by sin. We are broken people living in a broken world and live in the consequence of that.
So Jesus knew what people really needed was not just PHYSICAL healing, but more importantly SPIRITUAL healing.
Early in Jesus’ ministry, he showed this priority. The setting is Capernaum, on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus and four other disciples are staying there. Peter’s mother-in-law (did you know Peter was married?) was sick with a fever. Jesus was coming off a long day, but he took time to bring healing to Peter’s mother-in-law.
The whole town found out about it and that evening this is what happened:
Mark 1:32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
Jesus saw the opportunity to show his love in a physical tangible way. So he did.
But here’s what happened next.
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” 39 So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.
Jesus could have gone back to town and spent the day…the week…the month taking care of the physical needs of the people. But he didn’t. His priority was caring for the spiritual needs of the people. He could have spent his entire three plus years of ministry caring for physical needs and never getting the good news to others. So he did the one without neglecting the other. He solved physical problems, but had a priority to solve spiritual problems.
This priority is important for us to have as well. We could spend all our time, energy, and effort seeking to solve human suffering and challenges and miss the priority of the mission Jesus has given to us: Share the good news that our sins are forgiven.
Jesus was a great healer. He had power to drive out demons. He could feed 1000s with just a little bread and fish. But he didn’t want to be known primarily as the “Great Physician” or the “Master Exorcist” or the “Bread King.” He came to be known as Savior. That was his priority.
Apply: Do you know someone disconnected from Jesus? Maybe there is a physical need you can help fill as you pray that by caring for that need, God will open a door to fill the greater spiritual need.
Prayer: Lord, there are many ways to solve physical problems, but there is only one solution to spiritual problems, and that is you. Help me always keep that as my priority in my own heart and my interactions with others. AMEN.