Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:42-44
“I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
Jesus had spent an eventful few days in the town of Capernaum and his popularity there was continuing to grow. He had already healed many people and delivered several from demons, but there were still more who needed his touch. The demands on his time and attention had now grown to the point where he had to steal away from the house in the very early hours of the morning, without even telling his disciples where he was going, just so that he could get some time alone to pray.
His absence did not go unnoticed for long, however, and soon a broad search ensued for his whereabouts. When his disciples finally managed to find him, they exclaimed, “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus simply replied, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.”
“This is why I have come.” – In Luke’s version, he says, “Because that is why I was sent.” But this is not a contradiction, it is simply another facet of the truth. Jesus was sent by the Father, but he had also come willingly, for he and his Father were of one mind.
This discrepancy between two depictions of the same event in scripture brings up a very important point to remember when studying the words of Christ as they are recorded within the Gospels. We must understand that these are not always word-for-word accounts of what was said – his disciples did not follow him around with a recording device or takes notes during his sermons – but by no means does this make them any less accurate, for it is the truth behind the words which is being conveyed here. This is truth which has been filtered through human eyes and ears and compiled into Greek, and then translated into other languages, such as English or Spanish, with each language having variations of its own. But the truth revealed by the written word is not contained within the words themselves; truth transcends words. This is God’s story, after all, and for reasons of his own he has chosen to write it using human vessels.
“I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” (Luke 4:43) This echoes what Jesus said earlier to the congregation at Nazareth when he read to them from the scroll of Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18)
Jesus performed miracles out of compassion for the people who came to him, and also as a testament to his divine nature. But his focus was never on the miracles. His focus was on the message – his message. This good news of the kingdom, which was foretold by the prophets of old, heralded by hosts of heavenly angels, and lastly preached by John the Baptist, was now being carried upon the divine lips of none other than God himself!
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. (Hebrews 1:1-2)