Text: Mark 1:29-39
Why are you here? Why are you on this earth? What is the purpose of your existence?
This is not a question we are used to answering. We frequently ask each other:
But we much less frequently address the more important question: Why are you here?
Why did Jesus come? What was his purpose?
Mark 1:9-13 describe Jesus’ preparation for ministry. The rest of verses 14-39 show Jesus performing two different types of tasks: Preaching and teaching — both to the general public and to an intimate, small group — and compassionate acts, healing and casting out demons.
MINISTRY OF COMPASSION
Just after Jesus started his teaching, Mark recorded Jesus’s first case of physical healing when Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law.
Peter’s mother-in-law was not trying to disrupt his teaching, nor were most of the ill who came to his door later that evening. But Jesus had compassion for these hurting people, and he healed them — he healed many of them, for “the whole city” came to the door.
Now, isn’t this a good thing? Jesus attracted a huge crowd by his casting out a demon and by healing. He cured people of all kinds of diseases, eased their suffering. He freed people from the presence of evil demons in their lives. Isn’t this just what he wanted? Isn’t this why he came?
WHY DID JESUS COME?
Earlier (vs 12) Jesus did not fall for Satan’s temptations. Now, while providing for people in their real temporal needs, Jesus was again faced with the question – Why am I here:
“Am I a healer? Am I called to cast out demons? Am I looking for crowds, do I want to be a crowd pleaser?”
Jesus knew that he came to do the will of his Father in heaven. He rejected the temptation to play to the crowds. He even forbid the Demons to announce who He is. So He turned away from the crowds and submitted himself to His Father in solitude and prayer.
But then the disciples saw the crowds looking for Jesus, and frantically started to search for Him and said to him: “Everyone is looking for you.” (v36) Basically they were saying: “Jesus, you left us in an awkward position. All these people expect you to heal them. Now, come and do your job!”
38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (NIV)
Jesus knew the answer to the question “Why did I come?” He tells Peter, “This is who I am; this is my purpose. I came to preach the gospel, to prepare you for ministry.” And, though he does not yet tell Peter, he knows that he came to die.
Jesus resisted the temptation to follow the will of the crowds and become primarily a healer; he resisted the temptation to be diverted from his calling.
What about you? Do you have a clear sense of mission, of purpose? Why are you here?
Jesus was called to teach and preach. But Jesus did have compassion for people, he did deal with some short term needs. You might be someone who is called to ministries of compassion – to care for people living with HIV or for children who are vulnerable due to HIV and AIDS. You might be called to challenge people to accept people. You might be challenging stigma and assist the Church to accept as Christ accepted.
Thank God for your commitment to your calling. But I want to challenge you: Stop for a moment with all the important things you are doing and make time for a time of silence and solitude before God. Ask yourself again: Why am I here? What am I called for? And most of all – Why am I doing what I am doing!!
God is with you as you engage in your ministry. Step out in faith! May God bless you!