The Greatest Mission the Universe Has Ever Witnessed
If Jesus were to fail, the earth and everyone on it would be doomed.
About two thousand years ago, all the hosts of heaven watched in amazement as God sent His only begotten Son on a mission. While living on earth, God’s Son would take on the form of a man and give up His divine rights. As a man, He would be tempted in every area of life in which ordinary men and women are tempted. If the Son succumbed to even one temptation, His mission would be aborted, and the earth and its inhabitants would be doomed.
Though He lived as a man, the Son’s communion with His Father remained unbroken. His obedience to the Father’s will was nothing short of perfect. The close communion He enjoyed with His Father was crucial to the successful completion of His mission.
But the Son’s mission on earth was not
just one mission. In His teachings, He revealed that He came to accomplish twenty-seven seemingly impossible missions. If He failed in even one, all would be lost. Each of the twenty-seven missions had to be completed, and without error, during His brief life on earth. And amazingly, He did it!
The Missions Jesus Gave to Us
While most Christians are familiar with the Great Commission from Matthew 28:19–20, which is Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations, many may be unaware that before Jesus left the earth, He commissioned His disciples—and everyone else who would follow Him in the future—not with just one Great Commission, but with four lifelong missions that all believers are to focus on.
As believers, we often struggle with what God wants from our lives. What is His specific will for each of us, and how should we invest our lives to advance His work on earth? Jesus did not leave us in the dark, to guess at what God desires for us. The missions He left for us to carry out give us eternal purpose and a clear focus for our lives. As we pursue the four missions He gave us, we will experience the ultimate Christian life.
Far from being overwhelming, these missions sharpen our focus and intensify our faith. Out of all the opportunities and possibilities that believers could pursue, Christ points us to the missions He chose for us. There is no reason for believers to guess about what God wants or to worry that they are not hearing from God. In His teachings, Jesus has already revealed it all.
In the words of Christ from the four gospels, we have our job description. Jesus chose to give us the glorious opportunity to partner with Him in the same way that He partnered with His Father. As we pursue the four lifelong missions, He gives us His miraculous power and grace to fulfill each one. Jesus said, “Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).
As we carry out our missions, we will live in an intimate relationship with Him that is modeled after His relationship with His Father. Just as Jesus relied on His Father and drew wisdom and power from Him, so can believers today draw near to Christ in the most intimate relationship on earth. This is not restricted to a few special Christians or limited to the most holy. Jesus invites all His followers into an intimate relationship that mirrors the relationship He experienced with His Father when He was on earth.
Before we look at this relationship with Christ, there are a few realities we need to consider.
Better Than a Crystal Ball
It’s tempting to think that life would be much easier if only we could know what lies ahead. If we had a crystal ball that would allow us to see into the future, we could take the risk and uncertainty out of decision making. Think about it: you could win the lottery every week. If you’re an investor, you could read tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal today and make a fortune overnight. You could steer clear of traffic jams and dangerous motorists. You could ensure good health by avoiding the threats of disease and disaster. If only you had a crystal ball, you could become your
company’s most valued employee by next week—and without relying on hard work and business acumen.
No longer would you be uncertain or indecisive. With an infallible crystal ball, you could see the long-term benefits and consequences of every decision and choice. You would have the potential to avoid making mistakes in every area of your life.
But that is all it would be—potential. That’s because you would still be lacking one critical element. Even if you knew everything you needed to know about the future, you still would not have the power to change your life. You would not have the will to do the right thing in every instance, and you would still be subject to circumstances over which you have no control.
Knowing the future would not replace sadness with joy, emptiness with fulfillment, or death with eternal life. It would not eliminate the guilt you experience when you do something wrong. It could not empower you to love others unconditionally. For all the changes a future-seeing crystal ball could bring, it couldn’t bring the most important changes that you need or desire. And worst of all, it could not bring you even one step closer to an intimate relationship with an eternal, infinite God.
What you will discover in this book is infinitely better than a crystal ball. You won’t be able to read the future, but you will find out how you can enjoy the most intimate, powerful, and miracle-filled relationship possible with God. This relationship, which Christ offers to us, can replace sadness with joy, emptiness with fulfillment, failure with accomplishment, and most important, death with eternal life. Imagine having a relationship with God in which He reveals Himself to you in new ways every day. He will reveal His loves and desires, His values, and even His miraculous power in unique ways—to you, one of His closest followers.
Imagine experiencing Christ’s presence every moment of every day. Imagine being so close to Him that He whispers in your ear His thoughts, His guidance, even His perfect will for every decision you face. Imagine knowing that you are the focal point of His amazing love. In turn, you will gain the power to love others unconditionally in ways you never thought were possible. Imagine gaining the power to love and forgive even the people who have lied about you, betrayed you, and violated your trust.
This is the life of power and supernatural love that Christ lived on earth, and it can be your life as well. When you live in an intimate relationship with Him, He teaches you how to abide in His love and power. He directs your steps and opens your eyes to choices and decisions that produce a life of eternal significance.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Excerpted from The Jesus Mission by Steven K. Scott. Copyright © 2012 by Steven K. Scott. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.