Mission Questions: What is the Mission?

In my earlier post, I shared EquipUs’s goal of establishing healthy communities of faith. I also mentioned being a fan of I, Robot (see cover photo) and Detective Spooner’s instruction to ask the right questions. We then looked at a series of questions that need to be answered. This series of posts is about answering those questions, but it can also serve as a guide to learning to ask the right questions. Why is that important? Right questions lead to right answers!

As Christians, or as a Christian mission organization (EquipUs), is there a model to follow? We should always look for previous success where our questions are concerned. What are the possibilities for identifying a suitable model? We could list several:

  • The Apostle Paul
  • Mother Teresa
  • William Carey
  • Hudson Taylor

These and many more were successful Christian missionaries. Is there a better model? Yes! Surely I’d get no disagreement if I said Jesus was the best model. Why would I say that? There are at least two reasons:

  • He was perfect in all His ways, therefore without error or sin
  • He defined His own mission

Mission Questions: What Was Jesus’ Mission

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He defined His mission. It’s interesting to note where and how He did it. First, He did it in church. Well, it was the synagogue, but it was His normal place of worship. How do I know that? The synagogue was in Nazareth and that’s where Jesus grew up (see Luke 4). So it was in the very routine setting of weekly worship that Jesus stood and read from the book of Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD…

Just so you know, that was the verse God used to call me, as a 17 year old boy, into His service and ministry. Jesus stopped reading in the middle of that second verse. There is a whole lesson there because the end of verse two has not yet happened. But what He did read defined and described His earthly mission as He lived in human form.

My next question may stretch you a bit. But in some form it is probably already in your thinking:

That was Jesus’ mission. How is it a model for my mission?

Would it help you if I pointed you to Ephesians 5:1? There, Paul tells believers to be imitators of Christ, just as children imitate parents or other adults. That should be enough, but some might need a little more to make the connection to Jesus’ mission. Would it surprise you to know Jesus Himself gives you and me that same mission? Don’t think so? Look at John 20:21 –

As the Father sent Me, so send I you!

Mission Questions: What is My Mission?

Your mission, my mission, our mission is rooted in Isaiah 61:1-2a because that was Jesus’ mission. That’s it, but there’s more. Jesus’ statement in John 20:21 means our mission is whatever we see Him doing as we read His Word. He literally gave the totality of His mission to us. The thing is, He didn’t change it first or dumb it down so we could handle it. And there is a reason for that, too!

Jesus said apart from Him we can’t do anything. His Spirit, His power, and His love enable us to represent Him to the captives, to those who need good news, and those who are brokenhearted. It’s a big mission. But in Him and through Him we can accomplish it in His name for His glory!

In a later article: Asking more of the right questions!

Soli Deo Gloria! 

Keith Burnett | keithburnett.org