We are now back from Denmark and will resume our summer-long series on Missional Jesus. Today we look at Luke 7:18-23, a passage that deserves far more attention in gospel preaching than most permit, and it deserves more attention because it expresses the missional perspective of Jesus. Jesus, because he loved God and loved others, loved all others. It’s that simple and it’s that hard. No one loves all others easily.
It is easy to love those we like; it is hard to love those we don’t like; it is even harder to love those totally unlike us. Missional Jesus loves those he likes — like Peter and John — and those who don’t like him — like some Jewish leaders — and he loved those who were totally unlike him — like the Samaritans and the Romans.
Notice these observations:
1. Looking for the kingdom in glory, perhaps even miraculous release from prison, is not the way for Jesus. Kingdom work for Jesus was so incredibly mundane for Jesus that even Jesus’ closest family and friends weren’t sure he was Messiah or Kingdom-Bringer.
2. Missional work is seen in its actions of mercy, not simply in its claims.
3. Missional Jesus points to what he has done as the indicator and witness to who he is.
4. Missional Jesus carries out his ministry with all — and that means he sees the needs of those around him — like the poor and the blind and lame and the lepers.
5. Missional Jesus thinks he is himself the center of kingdom work.
Luke 7:18 The disciples of John reported all these things to him. So John summoned two of his disciples 19 and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” 20 When the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’” 21 Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. 22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. 23 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”