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The Ministry of Jesus

April 3, 2009

“And [Jesus] went throughout all Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.”

– Matthew 4:23-25

What a beautiful picture of the ministry of Christ. He taught, He preached, He healed. I love ecclesiology (study of the church), but do we sometimes complicate the church’s responsibilities? Maybe we should get down the ministries of evangelism, discipleship, and mercy before moving onto more complicated matters. It’s ironic that these other programs often lead to the neglect of the ministries of Jesus.

I love the response of the people in Galilee: as Jesus’s fame spread they came to Him, and then followed Him wherever He went! Two thoughts on this – the first from something I wrote in my Bible next to this passage and the second from Tim Keller:

1. I fear that many times we as the church do religious activities poorly, feel like we can then be relieved of our feelings of obligation, and then blame our lack of success on the hardness of other people’s hearts.

2. “Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, button-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did. If our churches aren’t appealing to younger brothers, they must be more full of elder brothers than we’d like to think”

Prodigal God, 15-16 (emphasis mine)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. joeland7 permalink
    April 3, 2009 2:58 pm

    thanks for sharing your insight and your words of inspiration.. May God bless your ministry.

  2. April 3, 2009 3:08 pm

    Thanks for your kind comment!


  3. April 3, 2009 6:00 pm

    So, brother, how then do we do ministry? For we certainly do not want to forget the elder brother either. The results of such attempts to be rid of this brother have been seen in many of the contemporary churches in our own day – theologically soft, tolerable, deemphasizing the divinity of Jesus in favor of His humanity, pragmatism, etc. What is the balance between the polarities? How do we do ministry to people in general? Jesus was specifically ministering to sinners – being a sinner was the only qualification; if you were a sinner, that is, one who recognized himself as a sinner, Jesus served and ministered to you. But He did not neglect the Pharisees, nor did He shun the outcasts of society. He ministered to them all; but His ministry, permeated with the Gospel about Himself, divided the house; according to His electing authority and the will of God, His Gospel ministry more often blessed the prodigal, the outcasts, women, and children, tax collectors, and the occasional Gentile, while the elder brother, though observing the same ministry, was himself – generally – self-condemned by it (with notable exceptions perhaps being Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and later, Paul). So again, your thoughts on a thorough Gospel ministry?

  4. April 3, 2009 6:07 pm

    All good questions – I’m heading to Mexico in 12 hours and have much to do before then, but I’ll give my thoughts when I get back in the U.S. Hope everything is going well, my friend!

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