Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Plan for Ministry

After Luke gives an account of the birth of Jesus, his genealogy, and his baptism, he writes about Jesus' forty days in the desert.  Scripture says Jesus was led in the desert by the Spirit. During this forty day period Jesus was fasting and being tempted by the devil. He met every temptation which the devil sent his way by quoting scripture. The devil failed in every attempt and Luke 4:13 says, "When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time."

Following this Jesus returned to Galilee where he taught in the synagogues and the people praised him. He then went to his hometown of Nazareth and went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day.  Then he stood up to read. The scroll from which he read were the writings of Isaiah, and Jesus found the place where Isaiah had prophesied concerning Jesus. 

Luke 4:18-19
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, 
    because he has anointed me
    to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

The mission of the earthly ministry of Jesus is established in this prophecy. While those in the synagogue were fascinated with Jesus, still to them this was just Joseph's son.  Jesus told them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."  The acceptance of Jesus to the hometown folks wasn't on the level of friendliness. In fact, they started making plans to throw him off a cliff. The Bible says that "Jesus walked through the crowd and went on his way."

There is no doubt that the ministry of Jesus fulfilled every aspect of Isaiah's prophecy.  Even a casual examination of the things Jesus said and did proves that he was active in that fulfillment. Is there something more for us here?

In looking to our individual ministries; those things God asks us to do, are we following the ministry plan of Jesus?   My suggestion is that the great commission of Jesus, places in our laps, the same characteristics of ministry that were upon Jesus himself. Going one step further, isn't this also to be the ministry of the Lord's church?

In a day in which we bounce from one program or idea to another, perhaps we should focus on following Jesus' ministry plan. Read his quotation from Isaiah again and again.  That is the direction we should be going individually and as a church.


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