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Jesus - His Ministry
The ministry of Christ lasted approximately three years. Other great men in history would
have accomplished very little if only given so short a time in which to fulfill their life's purpose.
But the ministry of Christ changed the whole course of history. What was it that caused this
ministry to be so effective in accomplishing worthy goals? Let us see.
The first thing we notice about the ministry of Christ is that it was marked by the utmost
simplicity. Matthew emphasizes that in chapter 12, verses 16-20, "Warning them not to tell
who He was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: `Here is My
servant whom I have chosen, the One I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on Him,
and He will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear
His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoldering wick He will not
snuff out, till He leads justice to victory.'"
This ministry of Jesus was so different from what the Jews expected of their Messiah! They
stumbled over its very simplicity. Yet the effectiveness of it has been demonstrated through
the centuries. Jesus Christ wrote no book, constructed no building, gathered no army,
collected no endowment fund; but the greatest book of all time was written to tell about His
ministry, death, resurrection, etc.; thousands of buildings have been erected through the
centuries in His name and honor, an army of spiritual moral soldiers has gone forth to fight for
His principles, and millions...yea, billions...of dollars in money have been freely given by
saints of all nationalities to further His cause in the world.
2. UNIVERSALITY OF APPEAL
A second great fact which confronts us when we examine the ministry of Jesus is the
universality of its appeal. It is true that Christ Himself was a Jew, and that His public ministry
was planned first of all to reach His own countrymen, and that the first followers were of that
race. Furthermore, His ministry was confined to the small country of Palestine. But, on the
other hand, we discover a Syrophoenician woman appealing to Him for aid and receiving it.
The Greeks came to His disciples with the appeal: "Sirs, we would see Jesus." The hero of one
of His stories was the Good Samaritan who belonged to a group greatly despised by those of
Judea. His Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20, has sent His followers into all the
countries over the globe to tell men the good news of a Savior. There is no other teaching ever
given forth by men that has such universal appeal in it as does that of Jesus Christ. Buddhism,
Confucianism, Hinduism, Modammedanism, are all oriental religions. Some efforts have been
made to propagate these religions in the occident...[or the countries of Europe and the
Americas]...however, not one of them could be called in any sense a universal religion.
And the ministry of Christ is acceptable to all classes of people no matter what their
condition in life may be. The rich or the poor, the educated and the ignorant, find help in this
ministry. The farmer, the doctor, the lawyer, the mechanic, the carpenter, the student, the
house-wife, the down-and-outer, the aristocrat, alike derive benefit from this unique ministry.
It appeals to men when they are strong and well, and benefits them when they are sick and
discouraged. It challenges them when everything goes well with them; it lifts them up when
they have fallen to low levels. It helps them in the midst of life's battle, and comforts them in
life's sorrows. At every crisis which man can face there is something here of benefit. Can this
be said of the ministry of any other teacher of all time?
AUTHORITATIVE BEYOND COMPARE
In the next place, we find the ministry of Christ was authoritative beyond anything with
which we may compare it. In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Christ said words like
these..."Ye have heard that it was said...But I say unto you." And such words were repeated
again and again. He was giving new teaching and giving it on His own authority. When this
sermon was ended, the idea of His authority was the one thing that stood out in His message
as far as His crowd was concerned. For instance, Matthew 7:28-29 states, "When Jesus had
finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as
one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law." The Scribes of that day made
much use of elaborate quotations from famous rabbis and what they thought about
controversial issues. However, Jesus gave forth His teaching with Himself as His great
authority for saying what He did. When Jesus gave forth His great "marching orders" to His
followers He prefaced His words with the statement "All authority is given unto Me in
heaven and on earth" [Matthew 28:18]. Because He spoke with all authority, therefore He
had the right to order His followers to go to the ends of the earth and proclaim His Gospel to
all the nations and peoples of earth. Because He speaks with such authority, men should give
serious consideration to heeding what He has to say.
SACRIFICIAL IN SPIRIT
Again, the ministry of Christ is seen to be sacrificial to a most remarkable degree. We are
told He had no home of His own. Luke 9:58 states, "Jesus replied, `Foxes have holes and birds
of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.'" Jesus chose to depend
upon the hospitality of others who ministered to His needs, rather than own a residence of His
own. Matthew 20:28 states, "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to give His life as a ransom for many." Although He depended on others for His material
needs, nevertheless the principle upon which His whole ministry was based was to go around
ministering to the needs of others rather than have servants to wait upon Him and do things for
Him in a personal way.
But His sacrificial spirit is best illustrated by this striking fact about Him as given in
Luke 9:51, "As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out
for Jerusalem." Jesus knew that going to Jerusalem would cost Him His life, yet because this
was a part of the final fulfillment of His life's purpose, nothing could keep Him from going.
John Maynard was a well-known God-fearing pilot on Lake Erie. He was in charge of a
streamer traveling between Detroit and Buffalo on a summer after- noon. When smoke was
seen coming from below deck a man was sent by the Captain to see what it was and he
returned, saying, "Captain, the ship is on fire!" Buckets of water were thrown on the flames,
but the fire could not be put out. The large quantities of rosin and tar which were on board
made it impossible to try to save the ship. The passengers began to question the pilot, "How far
are we from land?" The answer was, "Seven miles." Again, "How long will it be before we
reach it?" "Three quarters of an hour at our present rate of speed." The only thing to do was to
make a desperate effort to reach shore. As time went on, passengers and crew, men women,
and children crowded to the forward part of the ship where John Maynard stood at his post as
pilot. Flames burst forth and great clouds of smoke arose. The Captain cried through his
trumpet, "John Maynard!" The answer came back, "Ay, ay, sir!" "Run her on shore!" Nearer,
they approached the shore, Again the Captain cried out, "John Maynard!" Feebly, came the
response, "Ay, ay, sir!" And then came the question, "Can you hold on five minutes longer,
John?" And the noble reply was, "By God's help I will!" The old man's hair was scorching
from the scalp, one hand was disabled, yet his teeth were set, he stood as firm as a rock. He
beached the ship, and every man, woman, and child on board was saved, but John Maynard
paid for this deliverance at the cost of his life.
And even as John Maynard set his face to get to shore with the ship, so Jesus Christ set
His face to go to the city of Jerusalem, and He went there though the price He paid for going was
His death on a cruel cross.
ACCOMPANIED BY SUPERNATURAL POWER
Again, the ministry of Christ was accompanied by supernatural power. Jesus multiplied
the loaves and fishes, restored eyesight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and speech to those who
could not speak. He displayed power over all manner of sickness, demons obeyed His command,
and dead people came to life through His word. On one occasion, when He and His disciples
were in a boat on the lake, He was awakened out of sleep. Matthew 8:25-27 tells the rest of the
story. It states, "The disciples went and woke Him, saying, `Lord, save us! We're going to
drown!' He replied, `You of little faith, why are you so afraid?' Then He got up and rebuked the
winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, `What kind
of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!'" Yes, the ministry of Jesus was
accompanied by a display of supernatural power!
When John the Baptist was cast into prison, he sent two of his disciples unto Jesus.
Matthew 11:3-6 tells us the conversation which took place with Jesus, "The two disciples of John
the Baptist ask Jesus, `Are you the One Who was to come, or should we expect someone else?'
Jesus replied, `Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the
lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good
news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of Me.'"
Why did Jesus send back to John's prison this answer to his question? Jesus knew that John was
acquainted with the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah to come. He was saying
to John, "You know the credentials which the Old Testament required of Messiah. My miracles
which accompany My ministry prove that I have these credentials." Isaiah 61:1 states, "The Spirit
of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the
poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and
release from darkness for the prisoners." Isaiah 35:4-6 states "Say to those with fearful hearts,
`Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine
retribution he will come to save you.' Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of
the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water
will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.'"
There was an old Frenchman named Lepaux who thought he would get up a new religion
which he proposed to call "Theo-philanthropy." He had great difficulty in getting the people to
accept it. One day he complained about his difficulty to Talleyrand, who said to him, "I am not
surprised at the difficulty you find in your effort. It is no easy matter to introduce a new religion.
But there is one thing I would advise you to do, and then, perhaps, you might succeed." "What is
Where did Jesus go on his first journey? Jesus spent most of the next three days returning the way He came, He first journeyed north from Tyre to Sidon, then to the southeast, into the wilderness of the Decapolis, over fifty miles (80 km). To get there, all would have to ford the Jordan River at Bethsaida and so be baptized (at
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