What did Jesus say about war, poverty, and social unrest?
These issues, plus many more, are horrible displays of the brokenness in our world and in humanity. They are visible manifestations of unrestrained evil. They result in heartbreaking suffering and gross injustices affecting people all over the world.
The Bible tells us that Jesus had great compassion for people who were suffering. He healed the sick, opened blind eyes, fed multitudes who were hungry, and freed people from the bondage of evil. And the Bible instructs us to do the same. 1 John 3:17-18 tells us, “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."
Many individuals, churches, and other organizations are working courageously to help relieve suffering where they can, and this is right; but it is not the most important pursuit because it can never be enough. While we can help relieve suffering, we cannot ultimately “cure” war, poverty, or injustice. These issues are all rooted in the same thing, evil. Jesus taught that evil comes not from external circumstances but out of the human heart. In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Because of this, Jesus reminded us that His primary mission is “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). And His last earthly words to His followers were to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). That is our most important mission.
Pastor Rogers once explained:
“Our job is not to fight communism. Our job is not to fight pornography. Our job is not to fight gambling. Our job is not to fight abortion. Our job is not to fight racism or sexual perversion. The Gospel of Jesus Christ applies to all of these things. But, friend, listen to me. You can make a man an anti-communist, you can make a man an anti-bigot, you can make a man an anti-pervert without making him a Christian, but you can’t make him a Christian without making him anti-these other things. You see, the change is in the heart, and our singular commission is winning souls. Somebody says, ‘Well, we need to clothe the naked.’ Yes, we do. Somebody says, ‘We need to house the homeless.’ Yes, we do. Somebody says, ‘We need to feed the hungry.’ Yes, we do. But that is not our singular commission, and if we’re not careful all we’re doing is making the world a better place to go to Hell from. Our singular commission is to bring souls to Jesus Christ.“
Helping people experience true heart change is the only way for us to rise above war, poverty, social unrest, and the many other issues rooted in evil.