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  • The Mission of Jesus by Sewell Hall
  • Placing Your Hand on the Head of the Burnt Offering by David Maxson
  • Why Paul Said He Was Not Sent to Baptize by David Maxson

 

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The Mission of Jesus

Jesus plainly stated his mission in Luke 19:10: "The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He ministered to the temporal needs of many, but this was never his mission.

Since seeking and saving the lost was his mission, there is no record of His seeking the hungry or sick or handicapped. Those he served were those who came to him or those he saw "as he passed by" (Jn. 9:1). He stilled tempests, but He was not a storm chaser.

Since seeking and saving the lost was His mission, He did not allow anything to distract him. Early one morning after a day of healing, "the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, 'I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent"' (Luke 4:4243).

Since seeking and saving the lost was his mission, He did not publicize His social service. In fact, more than once after a healing, "He commanded them that they should tell no one" (Mk. 7:36, also 1:44; 3:12; 5:43).

Since seeking the lost was his mission, He taught all who would listen in the places He visited, but He did not heal all who were sick (Mk. 6:5-6).

Since seeking and saving the lost was his mission, He refused to feed those whose only interest was in "the food that perishes;' but had no interest in the "living bread" (Jn. 6:26-66).

Since seeking and saving the lost was His mission, He did not heal or feed the hungry in other parts of the world during His lifetime, though He could have done so. Since seeking and saving the lost was His mission, He did not provide for healing or feeding anyone in future ages.

Since seeking and saving the lost was His mission, He did not set up a fund or seek financial assistance from others to do His healing and feeding work.

Since seeking and saving the lost was His mission, He did not form some kind of foundation or establish some kind of institution for social work in the future.

Christ's mission to earth was not intended to leave mankind with a higher standard of living or longer life expectancy; if so, he completely failed. Rather he left mankind with the gospel, "the power of God unto salvation'' (Rom. 1:16). This He commissioned to be taken to "all the nations" and preached "till the end of the age" (Mt. 28:18-20). In the salvation of mankind through the gospel His mission would be accomplished and "all nations be blessed" (Gen. 18:18).

Since seeking the lost was His mission, the one thing He did establish was "the church of the living God" and its mission is to be "the pillar and ground of the truth'' (I Tim. 3:15). He did not commission it to engage in general social work at home or abroad. Its mission is primarily spiritual, a mirror of His own mission. Worldly people are not impressed with such a mission, but the goal of Jesus was not to impress the world, but to save it.

But what about poor, sick, and oppressed people in the world? Not all will be cared for, even as Jesus foresaw when he said, "The poor you have always with you" (John 12:8). Many will be cared for, however, just as they were in the days of Jesus, not by organized group activity but by Christ-like individuals who, as they have opportunity, will "do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10).

Local churches were organized by the Lord "for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:12-13). When saints begin to attain "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;' they will do as Christ did. This is essential to Christlikeness; it is pure religion (Jas. 1:27).

But, as was true of Jesus, it is not our mission to wipe out poverty or sickness; our mission, like His, is "to seek and save the lost:' And may we be as focused as He was on the accomplishment of this mission, while not failing to reach a helping hand to those we meet who need physical assistance!

— In Biblical Insights, February 2014

 

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Placing Your Hand On the Head of the Burnt Offering

by David Maxson 

He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering... Then he shall kill the bull before the LORD... Leviticus 1:4-5

Galatians 3:24 says that the old law was to prepare us for Christ. Among other things, it was a teacher to help us understand what would happen to Jesus on the cross. I want you to consider one very important thing we learn from the animal sacrifices that help us to appreciate Christ's sacrifice. 

The law made it very clear that only priests were to offer sacrifices before the LORD (Leviticus 1:5, 7, 11; 2:2, 9; 3:2, 8; 4:7). In other words, you couldn't set up an altar in your back yard and make sacrifices for yourself. It had to be in the place God designated once they entered the land (Deuteronomy 12:5) and it would be the priests to offer the sacrifices for you on the altar.

However, though the priest offered the sacrifice for you, he would not kill it for you. That was your job. You did that for yourself. After placing your hand on the head of the burnt offering (which probably symbolized the fact that the animal was taking on the guilt of your sins - see Leviticus 16:20-22), you would then take a knife and slit the throat so all of the blood would be drained out (for the life of the flesh was in the blood, Leviticus 17:16).

What was the purpose of that? It would appear that what God was teaching them (and us) was that the priest was not responsible for the death of that innocent animal, nor was God responsible. You killed the animal. It was your fault that he died. Your sins resulted in his death.

Christ Jesus "bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness" (1 Peter 2:24). No less than 10 times in Isaiah 53 a direct connection is made between the suffering of God's Servant (Jesus) and our sins. He did not die for his own sins but for ours. It is as if we placed our hand on the head of our Lord and took the nails in our hand and drove them through. He shed his blood for our sins, every last drop.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

-David Maxson 

 

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Why Paul Said He Was Not Sent to Baptize

David Maxson 

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel...1 Corinthians 1:17

Those who say baptism is not necessary for salvation point to this verse. "See, Paul was not sent to baptize. Baptism must not be essential to salvation." However, this view fails to recognize the reason Paul says this and it ignores the context which shows the significance Paul placed on baptism.

The reason Paul said this was because he was concerned with those who boasted in men (4:6). Some might say that they were superior over others because Paul was the one who baptized them. Paul argues that the baptizer is of no consequence. He asked, "Were you baptized in the name of Paul?" (1:13) It made no difference. His role was to simply preach the gospel. It didn't matter if he baptized or someone else baptized after he taught them the gospel. Salvation was not in Paul's name. It is in Jesus name. That's the point he's making here.

But consider the weight Paul gives to baptism in the context here. In verse 13 he asks to rhetorical questions: "Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" Those two questions are related and connected. They both have to do with their salvation. The reason why they were saved was because Jesus was crucified for them and they were baptized in his name.

Father, keep us from pride in men. Help us to put our faith in Christ and in him alone.