That is what I came for
Mark 1:29-45 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Jesus about her. 31 And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.
32 When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city had gathered at the door. 34 And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.
35 In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. 36 Simon and his companions searched for Him; 37 they found Him, and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38 He said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” 39 And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.
40 And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. 43 And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, 44 and He said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 45 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.
In Luke 4:18-19, at the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus read from Isaiah and said that these words were fulfilled: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” Although Jesus was God in flesh, we read in Matthew 3:17-18 of the account of Jesus having the Spirit come upon Him: After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Jesus was anointed, empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel, to proclaim release and recovery and the favorable year of the Lord. In today’s text Jesus says: “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” Crowds had been coming to Jesus, miracles, healings and deliverances were happening. Yet Jesus said He came to preach the gospel.
The text says: And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons. Again it was the preaching that went first, the miracles followed. We read then of an account of a leper being cleansed. The text says: And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, and He said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” The healing, the cleansing, all of the miracles Jesus did were for the same purpose, “as a testimony.” The signs and wonders were meant to confirm the gospel Jesus declared. Jesus said He came to preach the gospel.
Certainly, He came also to release and set free the captives and those who are oppressed. He did that giving His life as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross. Many people focus on how Jesus interacted with people. They focus on the relationships Jesus had with people. They mistakenly try to model Jesus by focusing on love and compassion in relationship to others. The truth is, to love people and be compassionate toward them was not Jesus purpose, His call. Love, compassion, mercy and grace are part of His character. Those things are part of who He is, not what He came to do. In deed He tells us: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” If we will truly love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, then love for God and love of others will no longer be something we need to focus on. As it is with Jesus, it will be who we are, not what we do.
Jesus says that upon the commandments to love God and to love your neighbor all the law and the prophets depend. It is not that love is all we do. It is that love is why we do what we do. Who we are in Christ does not end with loving others, it begins there. Just as Jesus came to preach the gospel, to declare the Lord’s favor, that too is what He has called and commissioned us to do. Love and compassion is to be part of who we are. As it says in Mark 16:15-20, if we will be faithful to preach the gospel, Jesus, with all the power of the Holy Spirit, will work with us. Loving and compassionate is to be who and what we are. What Jesus calls and commissions us to do is to: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. He says: These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” The promise for us is at it was for them: And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and precious Holy Spirit, like You may I be loving and compassionate, full of mercy and grace. As You have called and commissioned me may I preach and declare the good news and Your favor. As I am faithful I know You will be faithful to work with me and confirm Your word. Amen.