Friday, March 24, 2023
As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday I want to focus on the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ to the lost world. Resurrection Sunday is the high point of the Christian calendar because it commemorates the once-for-all conquering of death by Jesus Christ and confirms the possession of eternal life for all who repent of their sins and receive Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord. It was the fulfillment of Christ’s mission to the world. It was the beginning of ours.
Christ’s mission to the world began as an expression of the love of God for undeserving people who because of sin had been separated from relationship with Him.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus came to seek and to save those who were lost in their sin. Then, in an incomparable act of love, Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It is in this demonstration of love that the grace of God is visible to mankind and the power of God is released for the salvation of people. Jesus himself affirmed this in John 15:13 when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
As we consider our mission to the world we should begin where Jesus began – by loving the world. The Apostle John confirms this is 1 John 4:7-12, where he writes, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
More than anything else, what the world needs to see is the love of God being modeled by the people who claim to love God. When we love, we not only personally experience the complete love of God, but we also become the visible proof of God that the lost world needs to see. And believe me, they are looking.
One day I was in one of our large retail superstores in Eau Claire, and I heard a very loud voice coming from several aisles over. A woman was yelling at another family member about something they had forgotten to pick up, and she proceeded to verbally belittle the young man. Her criticisms and crude language were very hurtful and offensive. I was headed that direction anyway, so I looked to see who they were as I walked by. When I reached the aisle where they were standing, I saw the woman who had been yelling, and she had on a t-shirt that shocked me. It said, “Jesus, Lover of my Soul.” There were several other people who were also looking at her in disbelief. My first thought was to inject myself into the situation and ask her if she felt like she was a good model of the love of Jesus, but I resisted and moved on. But the Holy Spirit didn’t leave me alone. He asked me to look at my own behavior and make sure I was modeling His love. I knew I had some work to do, especially in those times when the stresses of life sap my physical energy and stretch my emotional strength. I’m sure you can relate.
As we consider the mission of Jesus to the world, and our participation in that mission, let’s begin where He began – with love. The apostle Paul says, “If I speak in the tonguesof men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
As we make our way through this day, may the world be able to say that they saw the love of God in us.