“The Ultimate Purpose Statement”
Many people have what we might call a purpose for their life. They have a direction they are pursuing and a plan on how to get there. Such people might even have some goals to help keep them motivated, and such things are nothing new. For a long time, people have put together plans and purposes and goals to achieve something special. During His earthly ministry, Jesus had a purpose He pursued; and, even though it was His Father’s plan, Jesus made it His own. He embraced what God wanted Him to do as His representative on the earth. That purpose revolved around people. He came to seek and save the lost. He came to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and bless the neglected. Jesus was very focused on His purpose. He regularly spent time with God, seeking to do His Father’s will. He did not get discouraged when He met certain obstacles. He did not get distracted when people tried to get Him off course. Jesus had a very important purpose and He stayed focused on it. In our lesson today on “Key to the Kingdom,” we will look more closely at Jesus' purpose statement. On several different occasions He shared it with others, and then He followed through. And hopefully, we will recognize His ultimate purpose was to share the Good News of God’s kingdom everywhere He went; and that is Good News for us as well. I trust that you will stay tuned to this station for the next few minutes as we study together from God’s Word.
Have you ever heard of a purpose statement? Oh, perhaps so, and you might even have one. But if not, a purpose statement is something which offers some guidance and direction. It might contain certain goals to pursue or objectives to accomplish over a period of time. Purpose statements genuinely give some guidance and purpose to a person’s life, or business, or perhaps even ministry. I look at my purpose statement on a regular basis and seek to pursue seven specific things in the various areas of my life. Oh, purpose statements are not new. They have been around for a long time. I think about the purpose that Moses had in the Old Testament part of the Bible; it was to show God’s glory to Pharaoh, as he would be God’s man to deliver the people out of Egyptian captivity. I also think about the man named the apostle Paul. Before he was called Paul, however, his name was Saul, and one day he was traveling down the road to the city of Damascus, to persecute people who belonged to the way of Jesus Christ. While he was going a great light shined down upon him; and God spoke to him and told him, "I have appointed you to be my spokesman to both the Jews and to the non-Jews, the Gentiles." Later on Saul's name was changed to the apostle Paul, and he took that responsibility, he took that purpose very seriously. Even to the point that he would later on write these words in 1st Corinthians 9, and verse 16, “Woe to me if do not preach the gospel.” That was Paul’s purpose, and he made that his purpose statement; to preach the gospel, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Well above all others, Jesus Himself had a purpose statement that set the direction for His life and for His ministry. It gave Him guidance as to where He would go and what He would do and what He would say. And that purpose is recorded in several different places and in different ways throughout the New Testament. Jesus pursued that purpose throughout His earthly ministry. And the purpose for which He came into this world still continues in the world today. Lets notice part of that purpose statement in Jesus' own words, which are recorded in the Gospel of John chapter 12 beginning with verse 49: <“I did not speak on My own but the Father who sent Me, commanded Me to say all that I have spoken. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say.”> There it is! That is part of Jesus' purpose statement; and it causes us to think about our purpose, doesn't it? Do we seek to pursue our own will and our purpose and our direction in life or are we willing to seek God’s purpose and God’s will for how He would have us to live? Well we notice in this statement that it revolves around doing what His Father called upon Him to do. Jesus said what His Father told Him to say. He went where His Father directed Him to go. Yes, Jesus did everything He could to please God and to bring Him glory. Jesus recognized that He was His Father’s representative here upon the earth and He was the hands and feet of the Lord God Almighty. He was His spokesman. Well, that purpose statement came into play, specifically, in the Gospel of Mark chapter 1. At the beginning of Jesus' ministry we find Him in the little village called Nazareth. Now, you might remember this is the place where He was raised. This was the place where Joseph and His mother brought Him out of Egypt. This is where He grew up, He had friends, He had relatives there. This is where Jesus learned the trade of being a carpenter. Yes, this was Jesus' hometown. But there came a time when He would venture on beyond Nazareth into other places, as He began to feel God’s purpose and direction for His life. We find this in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 1 beginning with verse 14: <After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the Good News of God. “The time has come,” He said, “the Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the Good News.”> Jesus' arrival into this world came at just the right time. It fulfilled God’s plan. Jesus came on the scene after John’s imprisonment. You might remember that John was the one preparing the way for Jesus Christ. He was called John the Baptist, and he went various places and into certain villages teaching and preaching a message of repentance. He encouraged the people to repent and to change their ways as they began to anticipate the arrival of the Messiah, the Anointed One of God, of Jesus Christ: and that was the ministry of John the Baptist. But John also had a message that said, “I am going to decrease as the One who comes after me will increase.” No doubt he was referring to Jesus Christ, and so John’s roll was to make smooth those rough places and to prepare the hearts and the lives of the people to receive Jesus Christ. Well, John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, and that marked the official beginning of Jesus' ministry. Soon after that John was imprisoned, and this is where Mark chapter 1, verses 14 and 15 come into play. Jesus begins to go to various places preaching the Good News of God. He left His hometown there in Nazareth and He was constantly on the move. He began to settle in a little community called Capernaum, and this was identified as Jesus' second hometown, and from there He ministered to people in various places around the Sea of Galilee. He went into villages like Basaida, and Kursi, and Chorazin. And everywhere He went He pursued God’s plan and God’s purpose for His life and for His ministry. Well the very One who John prophesied about was now present. He was at work. He was continuing on the mission and the purpose for which God had sent Him. And the Good News is that Jesus fulfilled Scripture. He had come to represent His Father and to call all people unto that Father and unto Himself. As Jesus proclaimed those things, He continually invited others to follow Him. He wanted those people to become His disciple and to walk in His footsteps, to hear His teaching and then to incorporate that into their daily lives. He called upon those who heard Him to change the direction of their lives. He invited them to give Him their full attention and to believe upon Him as the one and only Son of the living God. As we continue to think about Jesus' purpose here upon the earth, it did not stop there. He came also to heal those who were sick and to cast out demons, and we find that taking place at the end of Mark chapter 1, in this little village called Capernaum. Let’s read the story there; Mark chapter 1 beginning with verse 29: <Immediately He left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever and immediately they told Him about her. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening at sundown they brought to Him all who were sick and oppressed by demons. The whole city was gathered together at the door and He healed many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons, and He would not permit the demons to speak because they knew Him.> As Jesus left the Capernaum synagogue, He walked perhaps a hundred yards across the way, there in that little community, and He entered the house of Peter and his brother Andrew, along with James and John; and there Jesus encountered Peter’s mother-in-law, who was sick. But He reached out to her and immediately healed her. Word quickly spread what Jesus had done and others from the area came bringing those who were sick in their homes and their families, and others who were possessed by demons, and they came to Capernaum and Jesus spent the rest of the day, evidently, healing those who were sick and casting out those demons. Yes, part of the purpose for which Jesus came was to make a difference in the lives of those who suffered physically. He came to give them some relief and some hope. Yes, Jesus had a specific purpose for which He came into this world, and He spent His life pursuing it. He spent His life listening to God’s voice and understanding what He needed to do and where He needed to go. Well, as we keep reading here in chapter 1, we see something else that took place in His life, and it helps us to understand even more about Jesus' purpose. Let’s continue on here beginning with verse 35: <Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed. Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. And they found Him and said to Him, "Everyone is looking for You!" And He said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out." And He went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.> There are two things I want us to notice here in this passage. First of all, Jesus knew that His message was for all people, everywhere. He was not content to stay in His hometown of Nazareth. He was not content to stay there in the community of Capernaum, but He came to go other places and to minister and to proclaim God’s Good News to people everywhere. And then the second thing we notice is that He continued to be alone with His Father. Very early in the morning, before others arose, He got up while it was still dark and He went to that quiet place to be alone with God. It was on occasions like that where He received that purpose and that direction from His Heavenly Father as to where He would go and what He would do. Well, this same story is also recorded by Luke, in Luke chapter 4. Again we see some of the very same things happening, that we read here in Mark 1; Peter's mother-in-law is healed, a man is cleansed from an unclean spirit there in Capernaum. But we notice in Luke chapter 4 what happens next; Jesus said, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God to other towns, as well; for that is the purpose for which I was sent. Then He went out into Judea and preached that Good News message in various synagogues. Another aspect of Jesus' purpose is found in the earlier verses of Luke chapter 4. I want to notice that passage which begins with verse 16 in Luke 4: <He went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as it was His custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him. He began by saying to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."> In Jesus' early ministry He went in to various places. But one day He decided to go back and to visit His hometown, there in Nazareth. It was on the Sabbath, and as He regularly did, He went into the synagogue to worship God with the other people. And, no doubt, the people there in Nazareth were glad to see Him; He was one of their own. Family members perhaps were present, and they gave Jesus the opportunity to say something. The attendant gave Him the scroll and He opened it up to the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, and He read from Isaiah chapter 61; and, we just read those words, as we find them here in Luke chapter 4. Then, after He finished, He sat down and everyone was excited to hear from Jesus. They anticipated what He would say next. And He said, basically, “What I have just read is now fulfilled in Me; I am the One who has come to help the oppressed and the poor, I am the One who has come to set the prisoners free, I am the One who does all of these things.” Oh, the people there in Nazareth, even His own relatives and friends, did not like that. They could not envision Jesus, the carpenter’s son, being the One who was sent from God. It was hard for them to imagine how Jesus was the Anointed One, how He was the Messiah and the fulfillment of Isaiah chapter 61. So they took Jesus on the outskirts of town and were about to throw Him over the cliff to His death, but He escaped from their presence. Jesus' purpose on earth included healing the sick and casting out demons, teaching people about God’s Kingdom, proclaiming Good News to the poor, offering freedom for the oppressed and fulfilling Old Testament Scripture. And that's what Jesus did. He did not let opposition or rejection discourage Him. He did not turn away from the purpose that God placed before Him; but Jesus pursued God's will, as He was His spokesman to a world that was in need of hope and healing and salvation. And when we put together all of these various purpose statements and stories, we get just a part of the picture, of the purpose, for which Jesus came to this earth. We understand just a little bit more about the direction He went and what He accomplished in His ministry. He came looking for those who would submit to His Father’s authority. He came to advance the Kingdom of God here upon this earth. And that Kingdom would include a King; and, in fact, Jesus, Himself, was the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He came looking for those who would submit to that authority and who would give their lives in faithful obedience and service, as they became apart of the Kingdom of God and followed Jesus Christ. Yes, His purpose included changing people’s lives, both spiritually and physically, and Jesus spent the better part of three years doing just that. He invited people to follow Him, to submit to His teaching, and He longed for all people everywhere to be a part of that process. He had a purpose statement. It was not His own, it came from God the Father, but Jesus took that purpose very seriously. It directed His life. It determined where He went and what He said and did. Oh, Jesus focused on the people God put before Him, and He sought to bring them into His Father’s kingdom. Well, Jesus' purpose continues on still today, doesn't it? He invites people to be a part of the kingdom. He longs for people every where to hear and to respond to the Good News. He offers a better way to live when we believe upon Him and when we walk in His footsteps. When we think about Jesus' purpose statement, it is all encompassing, isn't it? From the spiritual to the physical, Jesus offers something for every person. He is the One who sees the needs in our life. He is the One who recognizes the problems and the struggles that we encounter, and He provides for us in every way possible. Oh, there is absolutely nothing that escapes His notice, and He can take care of all of the issues and all of the problems that concern us today. And the Good News of the Kingdom of God, the Good News message that Jesus proclaimed over and over again is that this message is for everyone. No one is excluded. Nobody is overlooked. Everyone has the opportunity to hear and respond to the Good News of the Kingdom of God. When I think about Jesus' purpose here upon the earth, when I consider the purpose statement that God entrusted to Him, I am thankful that He revealed His will to His son. I am thankful that Jesus was obedient to His Father and He pursued that purpose in His life. I am also thankful that Jesus' purpose continues on in our world, and it is available for you and for me. My hope and my prayer today is that you will submit to Jesus Christ as the King of your life. My hope is that you will put your faith and trust in Him and receive the wonderful physical and spiritual blessings that He has to offer; and, I hope that you will do that today.
Capernaum was located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee and was an important part of Jesus' ministry. He grew up some twenty-five miles to the Southwest, in Nazareth, but Capernaum was where He lived as He began His public ministry, and it is where He spent a majority of His time. Both Mathew and Mark called Capernaum His own city, Jesus preached in villages around the Sea of Galilee, which He crossed many times as He worked in this area. On a hill just above Capernaum is the traditional sight of the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew was a tax collector from this village. Two of Jesus' miracles here were the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law and the healing of a centurion’s servant. Oh, it is easy to walk the streets of Capernaum and to see the houses in which Jesus might have stayed or visited. They are small and made out of black basalt, the volcanic stone found all around the Sea of Galilee. The most important building found here is a synagogue. It is a large building some sixty-five feet long and two stories high. It is built out of beautiful white limestone, not black basalt like the houses. The white stone had to be brought in from a long distance and at a great expense. The synagogue had double columns and beautiful decorations carved in stone; and, it was not here in Jesus' day, but was built some three hundred to four hundred years later. When Jesus taught in the synagogue it was another building that once stood on this very spot. It was here that Jesus made the statement, "I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God, to other towns also, because that is why I was sent."
Thank you for tuning in to today’s broadcast. I hope these words about Jesus' ultimate purpose statement make us think about and appreciate who He is and the purpose for which He came. In addition to that, I also hope the pictures from where Jesus walked were helpful and made the Bible story come alive. This lesson, along with many others, is available on the website keytothekingdom.com. All of them can be downloaded in a variety of formats and I invite you to spend a few minutes on the site looking at the things that might be of interest. Two minute videos and one minute devotional thoughts are designed to offer some practical application of God’s Word. They can also be found on YouTube®. Remember everything is absolutely free and requires no commitment of any kind. If you would like to visit with us about this ministry, or if you have a specific question, please call the number on the screen. Leave a message and we would be happy to get back to you very soon. “Key to the Kingdom” can also be found on a free phone app and on Roku® television. Facebook® is something we recently started using. We add a new video message each week. Please find, like, and share us with others. I do hope you stay connected to “Key to the Kingdom” through one of these media outlets. Every week we try to share messages that are beneficial for one’s spiritual walk with the Lord. I truly hope that has been the case today. You are invited to join us again, on this same channel and at this same time, next week, as we continue to study the Bible on the “Key to the Kingdom.”