Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. (Luke 4: 38-44)
As we saw last week, Jesus was crystal clear on what his mission was, or in Jesus’s words, the work the Father gave him to do (John 17:4). Jesus came to earth to “proclaim the good news” of salvation in word and ultimate deed on the cross. And all throughout the gospels, we see Jesus saying “no” to demands on his time that didn’t fit in line with the “yes” he had already given to this mission from the Father.
Here in Luke 4, we see one of the clearest examples of Jesus’s disciplined adherence to his mission. After leaving the synagogue, Jesus had healed Peter’s mother-in-law. As word got out about Jesus’s miracle, the town flocked to him, bringing their sick so that Jesus could make them well. This, of course, is one way in which Jesus was fulfilling his mission, by demonstrating that he was God incarnate. But after his healing spree, we see Jesus retreat “to a solitary place.” Jesus knew that, after the first round of healings, there would be demands for more. But when the people predictably showed up for a healing encore the next day, Jesus said “no” to the peoples’ request. Why? Jesus explained, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent” [emphasis mine].
Yes, healing was a part of fulfilling Jesus’s mission. But it was only that—a part. Jesus knew that there was more important work for him to do, namely “proclaiming the good news” by “preaching in the synagogues” in preparation for the Passion on the cross.
When you’re building a company, writing a book, or managing a big project at work, there are many different things you have to complete in order to accomplish your mission. But that doesn’t mean that all of those tasks are equally important or should garner as much of your personal time and attention. It’s easy for everything to look important at work. But in reality, few things really are. Take a moment to discern the truly essential thing you need to accomplish this week in pursuit of your God-given mission, and say “no” to as much as you can that falls outside of that most critical task.