At the start of his ministry, Jesus read a passage from Isaiah 61:1-2 in a synagogue. The passage described the work of the Redeemer in preaching good news, freeing captives, giving sight to the blind and bringing justice to those who were oppressed. Jesus said that this prophecy was now fulfilled by his arrival.

In the gospels we learn of how Jesus carried out his ministry. He went out to people in the towns and villages, with his eyes open to their needs. He brought healing and released people from the power of demons. He challenged the authorities over unjust or hypocritical practices and preached the good news of the Kingdom of God. He sent out his disciples to do the same with little formal training and no resources.

Jesus spent a lot of time with the 12 disciples, teaching and training them and showing them how to live through his own example. He equipped them to continue his work on earth. Jesus’ challenge to the disciples (Matthew 10 and 28) was to ‘go and do the same’. We are challenged in just the same way by him to share in his work of caring for the needy, to teach others about all that he has commanded, and to make new disciples.

Discussion 
  • What is traditionally seen as the main role of the church worldwide?
  • What does our church believe is its most important role?
  • Read Luke 4:14-21 and Matthew 9:35-10:1. Discuss the different roles that Jesus came to fulfil.
    • What do each of them mean in our community today?
    • How did Jesus put his words into action?
    • Does his way of life differ from our present way of thinking about the work of the church? If so, why?
  • How can our church respond to his challenge to the disciples and to us?
  • What opportunities does our church have to be a positive influence in our community? How could we be a more positive influence?