Summary: how Jesus fulfilled his mission and struggled with his mission as Messiah
January 23, 2005 Isaiah 49:1-6
Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor." But I said, "I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God." And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength— he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."
Dear fellow missionaries of Christ,
Thomas Edison seems to have been a born inventor. He was given the mind, work ethic, and patience to keep on experimenting with different items until they ultimately worked. When you are given a natural skill where it is obvious what your life’s ambition should be, it makes life much easier. You can set your goals and plan your life from early on without spending half of your time just trying to figure out what you want to do. Unfortunately, life isn’t always that easy. Most young adults don’t know what they want to do as they spend their first two years taking general ed in college. By the time they finally figure it out, they have to waste an extra year or two in classes they could have taken by that point. Even after we graduate, many of us live life as if we had no mission at all. We go to work or school and come home and watch TV. That’s no mission. That’s just survival. God didn’t create you, call you, die for you, and baptize you just to survive, and it’s a shame when we don’t have any more purpose in life than to just get by. Yet that’s how many live their lives - wandering around from one hobby and one job to the next acting like little lost puppies.
How about Jesus? Did he know His mission from birth - that He was supposed to live and die for the world? Or did this seemingly “come to him” after thirty years of his life - at his baptism? Was this role of Messiah something that was “natural” for Him, or was it a role that was completely out of His league? Today, Isaiah’s words are meant to show us - the people from the islands and distant nations - different aspects of Jesus’ mission on earth - to show us a progression and a more full aspect to Jesus’ mission on earth. Through these verses we’ll take a close look at -
"Jesus, a ’Man’ on a Mission!"
I. Prepared for his mission
Did you ever stop to wonder if Jesus naturally knew what He was born to do? What I mean is, that if Jesus was born in true humility - choosing NOT to use His powers on many occasions - did He choose to know WHAT His mission was even from birth? Or was His humility so great that He had to LEARN even this? I can’t imagine that He went through life searching that hard for His mission. His very name - Jesus - is a transliteration of the Hebrew word meaning “the Lord saves.” I would imagine that He retained His wisdom of who He was - true God who became man to live and die for us. Even IF - and this is a BIG if - Jesus in His humility had to learn His mission, I have no doubt that from early on His parents relayed to Him the words of the angels, Simeon, the Shepherds, and the Wise Men, as well as the very words of the Old Testament. As Mary and Joseph relayed to Jesus these stories from His childhood, He no doubt knew what He was to do on earth and why He was to do it. He knew His mission.
Regardless of when Jesus knew His mission in His humility, He did know His mission from ETERNITY. Isaiah tells us that - Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. In Peter’s first letter he writes that Jesus, “was chosen before the creation of the world.” (1 Pe 1:20) The mission of Jesus was something that was pre-ordained even before God ever created the world. His mission was what He was BORN to do. Yet in a different sense this would by no means be something NATURAL to God. Think about it - God being BORN - what a foreign thing it would be for God - Who is used to consuming and directing all time and space - to limit Himself to a little manger and a mother’s womb! This mission would be to most unnaturally natural thing for Jesus to do!