Gospel Goals: Millenium Development Goals as Mission Goals – Br. Kevin Hackett
T.S. Eliot, Cambridge, and the Society of St. John the Evangelist – Br. Eldridge Pendleton
Jesus was abundantly clear about his mission. He was clear that it had practical implications for life and love in the here-and-now. In the Gospel according to Luke (4:14-21), just after he has entered the synagogue at Nazareth, he is given the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. There he reads what we now know as Isaiah 61:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Jesus then claims this as mission and sets about doing those very practical here-and-now things.
Jairus came and fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” Mark 5:22-23
Like any parents in a similar situation, Jairus and his wife would try most anything to save their child. There was no pediatric intensive care unit in which the child could be treated in their day. There were physicians, but they were few and far between, and maybe just as well. Remember how the woman who was healed of an issue of blood had “suffered much under many physicians [for 12 years], and had spent all she had, and was no better and grew worse.” Jairus was one of the “rulers of the synagogue,” an elder. He undoubtedly had heard how Jesus had healed the paralyzed man in Capernaum and blasphemed in saying that his sins were forgiven. Jairus would know of Jesus’ work on the Sabbath: the many healings, allowing his disciples to pluck grain, all of it a flagrant violation of Jewish law. Jesus was controversial, accused of “consorting with Beelzebul, the prince of demons.” Jairus was desperate and courageous enough to risk his reputation in his act of supplication at Jesus’ feet.
Jesus was not trying to enhance his reputation as a faith healer. Often he says to give God the glory and leave him out of it. Jesus’ miracles reveal something of what he calls “the Kingdom of God.” Jesus was not out to heal everyone, then or now, but to save us from sin and death, the greatest healing of all. When he opened eyes, he showed how God opens our eyes to see him more clearly. When he opened ears, he showed how God opens ears to hear the voice of God – in scripture, in prayer, in each other, in creation. When he healed the lame, he showed how God strengthens us when we are weak.