I have written many posts under the heading of Jesus’ Example. So much of what Jesus did during his earthly ministry was to give us the examples to follow. After washing the disciples feet, he actually told them it was an example and they were to do the same. It was a dramatic demonstration of humility and service to one another. We are commanded to imitate Christ by doing the things he did. It should go without saying that must study his words and actions so that we can model our actions after his.
Jesus was not just a preacher. He was not tied to a pulpit, nor was he just an itinerant evangelist. Jesus ministered to the needs of people. Matthew 5, 6 and 7 is well known as the sermon on the mount. There are a dozen examples of how Jesus challenged people to change the way they think. Then immediately in chapters 8 and 9, Jesus went out and changed people’s lives. He cleansed the lepers, healed the sick and raised the dead. He wasn’t sitting in an office somewhere blogging about helping people; he was on the front lines, in the trenches so to speak, getting his hands dirty. He changed people’s thoughts and he changed their lives.
Jesus ministry was about showing people God. Colossians 1 describes him as the “image of the invisible God.” In John 14, Jesus told his disciples that if they had seen him they had seen God. But he wasn’t just making God visible; he was illustrating what God is like. The Pharisees had kept the letter of the Law, but missed the spirit of the Law. Jesus was on earth to remind us what the heart of God is like. The story of the Prodigal Son shows us a father that is merciful toward a son that does not deserve mercy. Jesus told dozens of such stories. The message he delivered and the lessons he taught were not his own; he shared what the Father had taught him. We can listen to Jesus and still hear the Word of God today.
If you’re preaching a 3-point sermon, here it is: 1) Jesus changed people’s lives. 2) Jesus showed people God. 3) He wants us to do the same. In John 14, Jesus plainly instructs his followers to go on doing the things he did. Some he said would do even greater things. Now consider if you will these two scriptures, both the words of Jesus:
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” -John 8:12
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. -Matt 5:12
Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” But he also said “You are the light of the world.” During his earthly ministry, Jesus himself showed people what God was like. He shined the Gospel light into a dark world. And now… it is we who have the light. We possess Jesus Christ, and the knowledge of salvation. The Gospel has been entrusted to us, and we must carry it to every corner of the globe. Ministry is more than preaching in the pulpit or teaching a Sunday School class. We must do the things that Jesus did. The Jesus that ate with sinners and touched sick people.