LUKE 24:45-49: “Then he opened their minds so that they might understand the Scriptures. 46He told them, “This is how it is written: the Messiah was to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and then repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am sending to you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
OBSERVATION: There is no greater purpose! As we are in the midst of the Lenten season, it is a time to reflect upon the last weeks of Jesus life, His sacrificial death upon the cross, and His triumphant resurrection from the dead. The closing chapters of the Gospel of Luke are filled with sorrow, disappointment, astonishment, revelation, and overcoming joy. The words recorded in the last chapter of Luke, are transformational to both those who lived in Jesus’ day, and to all who read these words today. And in Jesus’ last words, before His ascension, we discover the greatest purpose of life.
We live today in a politically charged world. This is nothing new, but the 24/7 reporting of it is. We not only know what is happening in our own backyard, but we have a constant reporting of what is happening in the entire world’s backyard. There are so many needs. There are so many causes. What is the most important cause? What is the greatest purpose to rally around? Is it healthcare reform, immigration, taxation, equality of pay, or is is something entirely different? Jesus did not call His followers to ignore the world we live in. However, He did call us to a purpose that calls all other worthy causes to get in line. This purpose is the salvation of souls and the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Why is this the greatest purpose and call for the Christian? Jesus said – “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?’ How does this apply to our question? If we create the greatest healthcare system known to man, if we secure our borders and establish a fair and humane process of immigration that considers the needs of all men and women, if we have a fair taxation policy that does not favor one class, but is equitable to all, or if all people get paid the same wage for the same work – what does it matter, if when a person dies, they spend eternity separated from God in hell?
That really puts it in perspective doesn’t it?
As Christians we must all be good citizens, and civically minded. We should support policies that promote peace and equality. We should always support the rule of law. And we should always remember that our “greater purpose” is to share the Gospel with the world so that they might believe. Paul exhorted Timothy to pray for all men, and for all of our leaders. Yet, if you look at his exhortation carefully, you will see the driving concern behind Paul’s call to prayer.
- “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:1-4 NKJV
Paul never lost sight of the “greater purpose”. He was not praying for a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and reverence, for his own benefit. To Paul there was always an overriding concern and purpose in all that he did – “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Lord, with all the concerns that we face in the world today, help me to be aware and to be involved as a good citizen should. However, help me to always keep the “greater purpose” that You have given me – forefront in my mind, my heart, my prayers, and my actions.
Help me to always put the Gospel first in everything I do!
In Jesus Name!