Hi everyone! I pray you are all well and loving your walk with Jesus. I am overjoyed with the hope and promises I find through pray and study. I am especially blessed to read your comments. In our current environment, it is becoming more and more difficult to find others that share our passion for God and His plan. It can be discouraging, but just when I even think of being discouraged, God comes to me with a burst of hope, an answered prayer, or an encouraging word. I thank God for each and every one of you! Amen!
Today, I would like to discuss the Gospel Commission given to us by Jesus. Let us pray together first. Dear Heavenly Father, Your will be done on this earth. We want to give You praise and glory for Your saving grace, Your great love, and Your Son Jesus. There is so much to be thankful for and our hearts sing with joy as You, through Your Holy Spirit, reveal Truth to us. Forgive us our sins and guide us in lovingly forgiving others, in caring with a heart like Jesus’ for the souls lost in confusion and purpose. Show us the ministry of Jesus through His eyes, and His example. For we know there is only one way to You and that is through the blood of Jesus, in His holy name we pray, Amen!
So, just how did Jesus minister to others? Praise God, we are able to read His living example found in the 4 Gospel – the first 4 books of the New Testament. Jesus visually demonstrates a very straight forward method of ministry, one in which we can find a consistent pattern of steps.
Jesus was 30 years old when He officially started His ministry. He launched His ministry through baptism, in the River Jordan, by John the Baptist. The accounting of His baptism, the message from God speaking to Jesus and the Holy Spirit descending on Him, can be read in Matthew 3:13-17 and is found in all 4 Gospels.
Note: preface to my next paragraph. I know the Gospels talk of 12 disciples, but Jesus did not call Judas personally. Jesus allowed Judas to ease his way into the group of men Jesus called personally. Jesus knew, from the start, that Judas would betray Him, but He allowed it as a fulfillment of prophecy. (Matthew 8:19, Psalm 41:9)
Jesus called 11 men to follow Him (later Judas joined the 11), and He had many other followers. Mark 1:16-20 describes how Jesus called His disciples to follow. Jesus chose to make these men “fishers of men.” He chose to teach them, through example, how to bring souls to Jesus – Jesus showed them the Heavenly method of saving souls for His Kingdom. Through the study of the Gospels, I have developed an acronym for which I believe is Jesus ministry pattern. I prayerfully use this acronym so that I stay true to Jesus’ method and not wander off with something of my own creation. My sister has been given the gifts of caring and helps, so she is a great helper in this area of ministry. (Partners in ministry are great!) These are my personal steps to ministry – CARING!
- Care about your neighbor’s well being – meet them where they are in life – live Jesus for them.
- Ask genuine questions about their life and share your salvation story – get to know them as more than passing acquaintances
- Respond to their needs and concerns – help them with physical, emotional, and mental needs – gain their trust by being trustworthy and dependable – live Jesus!
- Introduce Jesus – once you develop a friendship, have conversations, sharing the love of Jesus and His sacrifice
- Nurture their relationship with Jesus – lead them to the cross again and again
- Guide them – as a close friend, help them acknowledge their need for Jesus and the Holy Spirit, pray with them often, and study scripture together. Be a true friend like Jesus!
Your ministry doesn’t stop when a person accepts Jesus as their personal Savior. They are often new to the lifestyle, many of the Biblical truths, and the actual act of being a Christian – just to name a few of the hurdles ahead of them. This is where our journey along side them becomes exceedingly important. This is when Satan starts to attack them in earnest. Continue CARING for them, guiding them, and being their true friend.
When I was a young wife and mother, I had a person in my life that I like being around because I thought she represented Jesus and I could enrich my walk through her witness. We were both stay at home moms and spent time together, letting our babies play. Several months into this routine, I overhead this “friend,” tell another person, “We aren’t really friends, I’m just trying to teach her about Jesus.” That was crushing to my soul and I walked away from what I thought was a real friendship and I walked away from Jesus. So, I caution you to be sincere, be a true friend, and pray your way through any ministry for which you are called. Before we can reach out to other, we must believe, must cherish, and cling to hope in Jesus. We must daily, hourly, and in every situation, ask for Jesus to abide in us and for the Holy Spirit to guide every aspect of our being. True ministry and friendship are gifts from God and when we ask, He is faithful to hear us and give us these gifts.
All 4 Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, portray Jesus’ ministry the same way. According to them, Jesus always started His introduction to new people by meeting the pressing concerns in their lives. This often involved physical acts of healing, casting out demons, manifesting food to feed the crowds, and story telling. I used to think Jesus had an advantage over our ministry in His power to heal and perform miracles because He is God. But, as I shared in my last blog, I no longer believe the same. While on earth, Jesus set His God powers aside and received all His power from God the Father – this was for our benefit. He was demonstrating what all devout followers can do when truly connected and surrendered to the Godhead. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, he told His disciples and devoted followers to wait for the Holy Spirit to come. Upon the Holy Spirit’s arrival (Acts 2:1-47) the followers of Jesus were able to perform many miracles by calling on Jesus’ name. Here is a short list of some of Jesus miracle, given to us as an example of what we will be called to do when following in His footsteps. (https://www.thehopeproject.com)
- Turning water into wine (John 2:1-11)
- Healing a nobleman’s son (John 4:46-54)
- Delivering a man in synagogue from demonic spirits (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37)
- Healing Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38-39; Matthew 8:14-15)
- Filling the first of two nets of fish and the calling of His first disciples (Luke 5:1-11)
- Cleansing a leper of his disease (Mark 1:40-45; Matthew 8:1-4)
- Healing a paralytic (Mark 2:1-12; Matthew 9:2-8; Luke 5:17-26)
- Healing the man at Bethesda (John 5:1-15)
- Healing a man with a withered hand (Luke 6:6-11; Matthew 12:9-13; Mark 3:1-5)
- Healing the Centurion’s servant (Luke 7: 1-10; Matthew 8:5-13)
- Raising the widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-16)
- Casting out a dumb and blind spirit (Luke 11:14-26; Matthew 12:22-32)
- Calming a storm (Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 8:18-27; Luke 8:22-25)
- Healing man possessed by demons at Gadara (Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 8:28-33)
- Healing a woman with a blood issue(Mark 5:25-34; Matthew 9:18-26; Luke 8:40-56)
- Raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark 5:21-43)
- Healing two blind men (Matthew 9:27-31)
- Casting out a demonic spirit (Matthew 9:32-34)
- Feeding 5,000 (+) 5 loaves & 2 fish (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17)
- Walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33; John 6:15-21; Mark 6:45-52)
- Healing a deaf and dumb man (Mark 7:31-37)
- Feeding another 4,000 (+) (Mark 8:1-10; Matthew 15:32-39)
- Healing the blind man of Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26)
- Casting demons out of a lunatic boy (Mark 9:14-29; Matthew 17:14-21; Luke 9:37-42)
- Pulling a coin from the mouth of a fish (Matthew 17:24-27)
- Healing a man born blind (John 9:1-41)
This list is by no measure complete. “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25) Jesus left no doubt in the studious hearts of His followers, as to how we should minister the Gospel Commission to our neighbors – to the world.
The Gospel Commission, often called the Great Commission, is clearly set forth by Jesus – after His resurrection. “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ ” (Matthew 28:16-20) Jesus had set a perfect example for them, for us, as visual instruction on how to carry out the Gospel Commission. Through His victorious sacrifice and resurrection Jesus cemented the ministry pattern for all to follow.
Once Jesus had met the peoples’ physical, emotional, and mental needs, their minds were cleared of cluttering concerns, set free to listen and understand His life saving stories and teachings. Because of Jesus pre-teaching choice to heal them, they trusted themselves with His teachings – realized, by the power of His miracles, that it was a natural next step to accepting the Bible truths He taught them. “As we read about the teaching of Jesus in the Bible, it is characterized by authority (Matthew 7:29, Mark 1:22, Luke 4:32) and wisdom (Matthew 13:54, Mark 6:2). Amazed (Matthew 7:28, Mark 1:22, Luke 4:32) and astonished (Matthew 13:54, Matthew 22:33, Mark 6:2, Mark 11:18) are the words used most to describe the reactions of those who heard Jesus teach.” https://www.thehopeproject.com Soon and very soon, we will receive His teachings at the feet of Jesus as we live with Him forever.
Many years ago, I was approached by an Elder in my church. He knew that I was a close friend of a newly baptized church member. He asked me to talk to her about a few church doctrines she didn’t seem to understand or follow. He was not happy when I responded that I could not and would not do as he wished. His response was, “But you are her friend, don’t you want her saved.” I quickly answered, “Of course I do, and I am being led by the Holy Spirit in following my part in the Gospel Commission. My responsibility as a loving friend and a Christian is to continually introduce her and others to Jesus. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict them of truth and salvation.” We do not know how a person’s walk with Jesus will begin and end, therefore we can only lead them to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. We can pray and study with them, but leave the convicting to the Holy Spirit.
By His stripes we are healed, set free from sin, and saved for eternity. “But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 ) What a worthy Messiah to follow, what a wonderful example of ministry that has been set before us. As we pray and grow in our relationship with Jesus, we can’t help but proclaim to the world – to all that will hear – Jesus is our salvation. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We have a commission to fulfill, but we are not alone, we have not been abandoned. Jesus abides in us each step of our journey, He carries us when we are weary, He lives out His ministry pattern through us, He pleads before His Father for our salvation. What is more valuable, more precious than that?
Until we meet again, may God, Who began a good work in you, carry it to completion. (Philippians 1:6)