Jesus has been working in the town of Capernaum, on the northwest shoreline of the Sea of Galilee. Prior to journeying to Capernaum, he had irritated the people of Nazareth by proclaiming himself to be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me…,” saying, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21b, NIV-1978).
Well, to be fair, it had a lot to do with his follow-up on that reading and quotation, but the people of Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, were furious with him, drove him out of town, and tried to toss him off a cliff (Luke 4:28-30). Those were the events that led to Jesus moving to Capernaum.
In Capernaum, Jesus was teaching on the Sabbath, and continued the logical progression from his teaching into healing. He exorcised demons, and not just silly, ignorant demons. These demons knew who he was. They talked with him. Jesus’ teaching and healing astonished the people, because Jesus had been teaching with authority, and now he demonstrated authority over demonic spirits.
Leaving the synagogue, Jesus moved to a house ministry, entering the home of Simon (later named Peter). There Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law, rebuking her fever. Jesus’ demonstrated authority was expanding. Before, he was speaking to demons; now he speaks to fevers.
As the sun set, the people of Capernaum brought to Jesus all who were ill, diseased, demon-possessed … he healed them all. After teaching and healing from sunset to sunrise, Jesus withdrew to a secluded place, but he couldn’t get away.
Living With Purpose
And the people [of Capernaum] sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.’ – Luke 4:42b-43, ESV – insert mine
Let that phrase resonate with you: ‘for I was sent for this purpose.’ Jesus never lost sight of his purpose. He refused to allow the overwhelming, pressing needs of the crowd to deter him from his mission, his purpose.
- Jesus said that he came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). A statement of purpose.
- For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). A statement of purpose.
- God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but rather that the world might be saved through him (John 3:17). A declaration of purpose.
- Jesus came that we might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Purpose!
- He came not to judge the world, but to save the world (John 12:47). Jesus always keeps his purpose in the sites.
Then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.’ – John 18:37, ESV
Jesus views his calling, his purpose, as one immersed in moral obligation. He must fulfill his purpose, not just to Capernaum, or to Israel, but to the entirety of creation.
In John 6, when the people tried to force Jesus to be king, he moved away from them because his purpose was not to be their earthly king. Later, in that same chapter, when Jesus left the crowd behind him, he explained to them that his purpose was not merely to fill their bellies with food.
As a Christ-follower, a giver, a servant, you’ll find that many people will take as much of your time as you are willing to give them. It is what Charles Hummel called “The Tyranny of the Urgent,” where urgent (Gotta get this done now!) issues press themselves to the fore, crowding out important issues. For the undisciplined, urgent always trumps the important.
There are times when urgent and important are driving in the same direction, even in the same lane, but the more frequent reality is that the urgent collides broadside with the important and wins the day. This is when it is vital to keep your calling clearly in view, because this will allow you to make wise, informed choices that are in line with your purpose.
…for I was sent for this purpose.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Victoriously in Christ!
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