When Jesus was just a boy of 12 years old, His relieved parents found their son, who had been separated from the traveling party on their return to Nazareth from Jerusalem following Passover. Jesus was at the temple, talking with the religious leaders. Upon finding Him, Mary said to Jesus, “Why have you done this to us? Look, your father and I have sought you anxiously.” Jesus responded in Luke 2:49, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Jesus had an agenda – to be about the Father’s business. As His servants we have been given an agenda.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10.
In the area of personal evangelism, our agenda is to follow Jesus, being His witnesses in word and deed – pointing people to Him. For He say, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:18-20). He also says, “Go and make disciples of all nations…and I will be with you always” (Matthew 28:19-20).
An important component of God’s agenda, the Father’s business, speaks of intentionality – specifically an intentionality that reaches out to the least and the lost. Jesus is our example.
In John 4, Jesus speaks with the Samaritan woman at the well. Let’s notice His intentionality in verses 3 and 4 – “He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria.” The back story is that Jews and Samaritans had a hatred for each other that went back hundreds of years. Samaritans were considered ‘half-breeds’ to many Jewish people due to intermarriage that occurred when the Northern Kingdom of Israel was exiled to Assyria seven centuries earlier. Jewish people traveling in this route usually avoided Samaria or went around it, but here we read that Jesus ‘needed to go through Samaria.’
Additionally, in Jesus’ day, it was culturally taboo for a Jewish man to talk with a woman in public. Jesus not only talks with a woman, but a Samaritan woman. And not any Samaritan woman, but a Samaritan woman who had 5 husbands previously. This woman was considered an outcast among her own Samaritan people. The Lord ‘had to go through Samaria’ to minister to an ‘outcast of the outcasts’ and share ‘living water’ with her, revealing His identity as Messiah.
Another example of Jesus’ being intentional in reaching out is found in Luke 19:1-10. Here the Lord, as He’s passing through a crowd at Jericho, calls out to a rich tax collector, Zacchaeus, who is sitting in a tree: “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5).
As a tax collector for Rome, Zacchaeus was also an outcast, despised among his own Jewish people. And the crowd took exception, saying in Luke 19:7, “He (Jesus) has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” We can only imagine their angst at Jesus’ choice of a dinner host.
When Zacchaeus turns to the Lord, Jesus says in Luke 19:9-10 – “And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.’”
The Lord passionately pursued people during His earthly ministry. And not only did Jesus point to Himself (see John 3:16, John 5:24, Luke 4:16-21,) others specifically pointed to Jesus for salvation:
* The Father pointed people to Jesus for salvation. (Matthew 4:16-17)
* The Holy Spirit pointed people to Jesus for salvation. (John 15:26)
* John the Baptist pointed people to Jesus for salvation. (John 1:29)
* The New Testament saints pointed people to Jesus for salvation. (John 15:27, the Book of Acts)
How passionately are we pursuing the least and lost, pointing them to Jesus for salvation in word and deed?
Where is your ‘Samaria?’ Who is your ‘Zacchaeus?’ Does God want you go somewhere and/or reach out to someone in your sphere of influence, someone in need of Jesus?
As witnesses for Jesus, may we grow to be more intentional in pursuing redemptive relationships with the lost – praying for, serving, and loving them in Jesus’ name.
As His witnesses, may we grow to be more intentional in pointing people to Jesus for salvation.
As His witnesses, may we be about our ‘Father’s Business.’