38 After he left the synagogue, he entered Simon’s house. Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. 39 So he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and began to serve them. 40 When the sun was setting, all those who had anyone sick with various diseases brought them to him. As he laid his hands on each one of them, he healed them. 41 Also, demons were coming out of many, shouting and saying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ. 42 When it was day, he went out and made his way to a deserted place. But the crowds were searching for him. They came to him and tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said to them, “It is necessary for me to proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
How did Jesus know what to do during His time on earth? Everybody needed something from Him or had an agenda for Him. He could have spent His time with powerful people, currying their favor. He could have led a political revolution. He could have visited more towns, taught in bigger arenas, addressed other topics. How did He choose to do what He did?
This story gives us some clues. In his version of the same story, Matthew says:
Before daybreak, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” (Matthew 1:35-38)
Jesus knew what His Father wanted Him to do because He spent time in prayer listening to His Father. It was a regular habit, in spite of what everyone else wanted or expected.
Jesus knew why He had come. John tells us this determined what Jesus did and said:
Jesus knew that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. (John 13:3-4)
Jesus did things like wash the disciples’ feet. He knew when and whom to serve.
God had clearly predicted what the Savior’s mission would be:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come. (Isaiah 61:1-2, Luke 4:18-19)
This is what God is about. Wherever you see Him at work in the world, this is what He is doing:
- Bringing good news to those in spiritual and physical need
- Setting people free from whatever holds them captive
- Lifting oppression
- Opening blind eyes to see sunlight or to see the light of truth.
At the end of Jesus’ short time on earth, He could pray, “I have finished the work You gave me to do.” (John 17:4) This is the work Jesus calls us to join as we follow Him. Do you know how to spot God at work, as Jesus did, and join Him?
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Make a list of the things others want you to do. What are you doing because it’s expected of you? How does this demand your time and energy?
- How’s your prayer life? Do you take regular breaks in your day to get alone with God to listen and talk to Him?
- Bring these two lists—what others want you to do and what God wants you to do (found in Luke 4:18-19)—to your prayer time. Ask God to speak to you about them. What does He want you to stop doing? What does He want you to start doing? Where do you see Him at work? How does He want you to join Him?
Pray for the Deaf Theological Center leadership as they work to creatively multiply the training for international deaf pastors and missionaries that would normally take place here each January through June. Pray for ongoing translation efforts to create the DeafWay Bible resource in the heart languages of the deaf.