The confusion of Jesus’ Mission in the minds of His contemporaries
Though many aspects of Jesus’ Mission have been discussed, one aspect in particular needs to be mentioned. Although it is not as appreciated today as it was when Jesus Himself was on earth, it nevertheless played a huge role in the way that the Lord fared among His people.
We must remember the milieu in which Jesus grew up and accomplished His Mission. An environment where the Temple and the various religious castes dominated daily life and exerted a huge influence in the lives of the people. The people of Israel bore a huge yoke of taxes and ordinances and so on which was very difficult for them to bear.
In addition to all this they were under occupation by the Romans who imposed their own additional burdens. Through many decades and centuries of living this way there gradually grew a longing in many of them to be free from these burdens and indeed in the midst of this came the prophecy of a deliverer.
When then Jesus appeared and began His Mission, most people saw in Him this deliverer Who had been prophesied and expected. Through His Word and miracles many became convinced that He was indeed the Messiah Who had been sent by God for the fulfilment of all the prophecies.
While they were right in their intuitions that Jesus was the expected Messiah, where they went wrong was their expectation that He would free them from the Roman yoke and foreign occupation. Jesus, right from the very beginning stated that He was on a spiritual mission and not on an earthly one. His mission consisted of freeing the people from the burdens of wrong doing and sin and not from any earthly bondage.
Freedom from spiritual bondage was the most important because if one was spiritually free then earthly freedom would come of its own accord. Jesus therefore came to teach us how to live our lives in a way pleasing to God which would then guarantee all else. In spite of Jesus’ repeated assertions to this effect many people still persisted in putting Jesus’ Mission in the earthly sphere.
In observing the effect that He had on people and on observing and witnessing the great Power which emanated from Him many became convinced that all that was needed was for Him to speak the word and they would instantly be free of the Romans.
Jesus therefore was fully expected to take up arms against the Romans and free the Israelites from the occupation of their country. When He refused to do this, however, the disappointment and anger that He engendered in certain quarters played no small role in His betrayal and eventual crucifixion. The fact that Jesus always maintained that His Kingdom was not of this world played into deaf ears.
Jesus’ Mission was a spiritual one and not an earthly one and He came to show us how to think, speak and act in ways consistent with the Will of God. He came to explain the Laws of Creation so that we might know and follow them for a trouble-free earthly existence leading to peace and happiness.