Life: On Mission
By Chris Watson
This week we have the opportunity to read about what many refer to as passion week in the book of Mark. In chapters 11-16 we visit a story that is all too familiar to many of us. So much so that some of us glaze over the topic each Easter, knowing that the story will come around or be referenced continually throughout the year. As I read over the details of Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection one of the biggest things to jump off the page is the mission with which Jesus lives His life.
We don’t get a ton of details of the childhood of Christ, but Jesus pops onto the scene immediately following His baptism. We get our first glimpse of Jesus’ awareness of the mission He is on at the Wedding in Cana found in John 2. Mary asks Jesus to perform His first miracle at the wedding, and Jesus, knowing God’s plan and timing for His life responds, “My time has not yet come.”
Now let’s pick up in this past week’s reading. We see in Mark 8-10 Jesus tries to prepare His disciples 3 different times for what they are going to see, and experience in the coming weeks once they enter Jerusalem. The first in 8:31 Jesus tells them plainly that He will be rejected and killed, and three days later would rise again. Peter doesn’t care too much for Jesus speaking this way and takes Jesus aside to tell Him not to talk that way. Jesus then calls Peter out to say that Peter’s mind is not on the things of God, but the things of man. This is our first glimpse into the not my will, but yours be done mentality that Jesus lives His life with. Jesus tries to get His disciples to wrap their heads around these things 2 more times before they reach Jerusalem, but they just don’t get it.
Finally, we reach Jerusalem. The scene of the crime. The place that Jesus just told His disciples He will be betrayed, mocked, beat and crucified. Still, He marches on toward the mission. As Jesus and His disciples approached Jerusalem, we get another glimpse into the specific detail to which He knows His fate. Before they even enter He tells His disciples how they are going to enter, where they will find the colt, and how the people will react to their taking of it. Again in chapter 14, as a woman is chastised for dumping an expensive bottle of perfume on His feet, He corrects them and tells them that she is preparing His body for burial. We see Him reference His broken body and poured out blood during the Lord’s supper. Finally, in a moment of true anguish, we see Jesus’ final plea to God, if there is any way to change course from the mission, but completes the request with “Not my will, but yours be done.”
“So what” you may say. “Jesus is God after all. He knew that it would all turn out in perfection in the end. This is the reason He came in the first place.” However, as He experiences all of the betrayal, the mocking, the beatings, and the crucifixion, He is still flesh. His body is still going to experience the most gruesome, brutal execution saved for the worst of criminals. All of this to accomplish the mission set before Him by His father, the redemption of mankind.
And as Jesus’ mission on earth has been completed through His death, burial, and resurrection, so too he charges his followers with a new mission in Matthew 28:19-20. That mission is to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to be obey everything I have commanded you.” So as we have been assigned our mission from Jesus the question is: Will you live your life on mission?