looking through binoculars October 3 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): John 4:27-46a; Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 4:12-17; Luke 4:14-44; Mark 1:21-45; Matthew 8:14-17; Matthew 8:1-4; Luke 5:12-16

Focus | Mission

What is your mission in life? Understanding your mission gives you direction and focus. In today's world, many organizations have a mission statement, an explanation of what they are striving to do and how they measure success. What is your mission statement—what has God called you to do?

Jesus’ ultimate mission was to give us spiritual life and forgiveness (John 3:13-17), but it was not yet time to reveal this. He needed to prove himself to be the Messiah, the chosen one of God. People would then come to recognize who he is as they saw his works and heard him speak.

In today's Bible reading, Jesus speaks of his mission to his disciples at Jacob's well in Samaria. Being hungry, his disciples go into the town of Sychar to buy some food. When they return, they are surprised that Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman (Jews have no dealings with Samaritans). They urge Jesus to eat the food they brought back with them. He refuses, saying, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about....My food [meaning purpose] is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:32,34, NIV).

And, what is this will and work Jesus is to finish? He is to reveal God and offer eternal life to sinners. To the Samaritan woman Jesus offers living water, eternal spiritual life to satisfy her parched soul. The Samaritans were considered half-breed Jews and were hated, but God loves all people. He stayed two days with them. Jesus loves all of us and offers eternal spiritual life to quench our parched souls (more...).

Sometimes Jesus’ daily ministry is not specifically stated—it is illustrated. After the incident with the Samaritan woman, Jesus compares a soon coming agricultural harvest with a spiritual harvest. In this passage, he not only implies that he is reaping but tells the disciples it is their opportunity to help. The time and opportunity is now. The prophets, including John the Baptist, have sown the spiritual seed from God’s Word. The disciples are to help reap it. Jesus’ daily ministry is the sowing, nurturing, and harvesting of souls. What about us? Are we helping him?

Now is the time for spiritual reaping in Jesus' ministry. After John the Baptist is put into prison, Jesus goes back to the area of the Lake of Galilee proclaiming the good news of salvation from all our wrongdoings (more...). “The time has come,” he proclaims. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15, NIV).

Have we done this? In deep remorse, have we confessed our wrongdoings (sins), turned away from them (repenting), and believed in the Lord's sacrifice for us? Or, are we still on the fence of indecision? Do we watch Jesus from afar or gather with others who are “religious,” remaining uncommitted and trying to conceal our identity? This is the day of salvation! Let's repent and believe! (more...)

Jesus’ mission is clearly declared after he returns to Nazareth, his hometown.

On the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read and the scroll of the 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 preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 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, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:16a-21 NIV).

Although his audience is startled and amazed, this passage of Scripture explains Jesus’ specific mission here on earth. There are many to whom Jesus will restore sight and release from physical illness, insanity, and even death. However, he is also sent to preach good news to those who are poor and oppressed in their spirits. He urges them to repent for the kingdom of heaven is near (Matthew 4:17).

We Christians, although we can't heal or raise the dead, can still minister to those who are sick, grieving, or who are otherwise oppressed in their bodies or spirits. We can also tell them the message of the gospel to heal their souls and give spiritual life.

Satan (the devil) tries to hinder the accomplishment of Jesus’ mission. He attempts to make the ministry of Christ look like it is authenticated by demons. Christ knows this association with demons is not good, so he casts them out of people and sends them away, commanding them to be quiet. Jesus wants people to come to know him as they see his good works and listen to his teaching. His identity will be soon known, but not by the testimony of demons.

Satan also doesn't want us to accomplish godly missions. He will try to trip us up or divert our attention so we get nothing done. He may hinder us by appealing to our pride and getting us to rely upon early success or giving us early recognition for our accomplishments. Everyone likes to be recognized, but premature recognition can keep us from fulfilling our mission, and we may lose our focus. We must work diligently and stay focused until our tasks are complete. Rewards come to those of us who are faithful in the missions which God gives us. Let's focus on glorifying God in our words and our deeds.

Lessons to Live By

  • This is the day of salvation! We need to repent and believe! (more...)
  • Christians, let's fulfill our mission. We should live daily for the kingdom of God, ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of people as he calls us to do.
  • Let's stay focused and work diligently. We must not let the devil hinder us by pride or by focusing on early successes. Rewards come at the end life's race for those who continue to run and finish well.

Focus Verses

Hebrews 12:2a (NIV) “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

Hebrews 13:16 (NIV) “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Here is a video of Jesus casting our demons

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A Look Ahead: Besides the challenge of Jesus keeping focused on his mission is the challenge of religion. When is it important to Change and when is it important to keep Traditions? Find out in our Next Lesson.

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