Jesus’ Example: Ministry

Jesus-healing-blindI 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. 

10 thoughts on “Jesus’ Example: Ministry

  1. Which is the most important?
    Jesus was asked twice, by two different men, the same basic question about which is the most important or greatest commandment in the Law. Here is how Jesus answered that question:

    “One of the teachers of the law… asked him [Jesus],
    ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’

    “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, of Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than THESE.” [Mark 12:28-31, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Leviticus 19:18]

    …an expert in the law, tested him [Jesus] with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’”

    Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these TWO commandments.” [Matthew 22:36-40, Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18]

    But in contrast with Jesus, Paul the Pharisee didn’t know the greatest, most important, first commandment according to Jesus. Paul made up his own rule. Paul wrote:
    “The entire law is summed up in a SINGLE command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” [Galatians 5:14, Leviticus 19:18]

    And again, Paul wrote:
    “He who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not covet, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this ONE RULE: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” [Romans 13:8-10, Leviticus 19:18]

    Jesus said it’s TWO commandments, with the greatest, most important, first command to
    .1) first, love God with everything you’ve got, and
    .2) second, love people.
    Paul said no, it ONE commandment- to love people.

    This is very similar to The Beatles- “All you need is love. Love is all you need. Love, Love, Love.” (In other words, the second commandment, the love of man, without the love of God. Love as me, myself and I define love to be, and continuously redefined by sinful men.)

    In essence, it is also the same principle as what Eve did in the Garden of Eden, forgetting about the Tree of Life, which is the first tree in the middle of the Garden, and instead referring to the second tree as “the tree that is in the middle of the garden.” [Genesis 3:3 & 2:9 2:17, 3:24]

    Kind of like the Pharisees with Jesus, who were pushing the false idea that we can consider ONE commandment in the Law, alone in isolation, to be “the greatest commandment in the Law.”

    Or like today, false teachers in the Chrislam – Purpose Driven – Seeker Sensitive – Emergent – Liberal – Ecumenical – New Age – world church movement pushing the false idea that the ONE RULE is “Loving God and Neighbor together.”

    The Lord God Jesus the Jewish Messiah, Son of Yahweh the Most High God of Israel, said:
    “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these TWO commandments.”
    Not one. TWO.

    Sometimes, Paul was wrong. Jesus is always right. I’m following Jesus.

    Here are answers to 2 common objections:
    .a) What about the so-called “Golden Rule”?
    Jesus spoke the 3 chapters of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, including 7:12. Jesus didn’t make PART of this one verse out of context into “The Golden Rule” or “one rule.” Jesus did not use the term “Golden Rule,” it’s simply a tradition of men. The sentence begins with “So” in the NIV and Amplified Bibles, and “Therefore’ in the NASB and King James Bibles, which ties 7:12 to the previous sentences. So 7:12 cannot stand alone as One Commandment.

    .b) What about the so-called “Great Commission”?
    Jesus spoke the words recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, including “make disciples of all nations.” Jesus never used the term “Great Commission,” it’s simply a tradition of men. Yes I agree it’s a commandment given by Jesus, it’s not optional, and it applies to us today. We need to carry this out, with our own God-given abilities and talents, using the skills, and circumstances we have. But we don’t need to put words in the mouth of Jesus, we can let Jesus speak for himself, and we can listen to Him – and obey Him.

    Evangelism is part of the Second Commandment given by Jesus, to Love people. Evangelism is not the most important commandment, and it isn’t the entire Second Commandment. So if our priorities are “The Great Commission and the Great Commandment,” we have our priorities upside down and confused, and we are not listening to the voice of Jesus. Never mind what Paul said. Let’s listen to the voice of Jesus first, and get our priorities straight.

    The people who will protest most loudly against this truth are the modern “Pauls:” traveling evangelists, speakers, writers, abusive absentee mega-church pastors, Crusaders, and self-appointed “apostles” like Paul, who find it “profitable” to “be like Paul” rather than follow Jesus the Jewish Messiah.

  2. “Sometimes Paul was wrong.”

    Paul wrote 2/3 of what we call the New Testament. If Paul was wrong then the New Testament of the Bible is wrong. Is this really the claim you want to make?

  3. For something a little less prosaic – if you have ears to hear.
    (Paul wrote 1/3 of the New Testament by chapter count. 33.4%)

    Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”

  4. Matthew Perri, haven’t heard from you since 2014. Please tell me you didn’t spend the last two years writing this poem.

    The Apostle Paul was called by God and he served God. Paul preached the Gospel, planted churches and trained pastors. First and Second Timothy are like service manuals for running a New Testament church. I can’t believe we’re still having this conversation about how wrong Paul was on some things.

    Your poem claims that loving God is a greater and higher command than loving people. Jesus enumerated a first and second; he did not say more or less important. There are two steps to throwing a hand grenade. Step 1 is to pull the pin, step 2 is to throw. Both are equally important but both must be done and in that exact order to be successful.

    Jesus came to this world, suffered horribly and died an agonizing death on the cross because he loved people. It was also the Father’s will. He wept over the city of Jerusalem that rejected him and knew they would stand in God’s judgement. Many times he was moved to compassion by the crowds that to him were like sheep without a shepherd (a ref. to Isaiah). Jesus loved people. Will you now argue that “sometimes Jesus was wrong?”

  5. Greetings Clark. No, the poem sort of “came to me” in just one day a few weeks ago.

    you wrote above, QUOTE:
    “Jesus enumerated a first and second; he did not say more or less important.”

    Below are the words of Jesus in YOUR Bible and mine, speaking in consecutive complete sentences.
    (Not one sentence fragment out of context from the 3-chapter Sermon on the Mount, not one sentence fragment out of context about “a new commandment” in the 5-chapter Upper Room Discourse)

    “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, of Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12]

    Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. [Matthew 22]

    As for Paul, by the end of his recorded ministry, Acts 28:23, I believe he was probably serving God, because it seems he had repented of his false teaching that Jesus “abolished the Law” an “did away with the Law” and he was “not under the Law” and “all things are lawful.”

  6. You took one verse from Mark and one from Matthew, pulling them from their context and manipulating the point Jesus was trying to make. Here is Matthew 22 from verses 37 – 40:
    And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

    A second command is like it (Mark 12 says the same thing). All the Law and the Prophets depend on those two great commands taken together.

    Paul repented of his false teachings? So you still insist the New Testament contains false teachings. We must discern which parts of the Bible are true and which are false. It can’t be that the Bible is the word of God and does not contradict itself. That is the not the message of the New Testament church and not one that I will preach in any pulpit.

  7. I took 2 consecutive verses from Matthew and two consecutive verses from Mark.

    Twice Jesus gave a direct specific answer to the question of which one is the Most Important Commandment. He spoke in complete consecutive sentences (verses.) Matthew 22:37-38, Mark 12:29-30.

    There are many applications for this commandment, which Jesus quoted from the Law of Moses Deuteronomy chapter 6. (After that Jesus also quoted “The Second”, also from the Law – Leviticus 19.) Before we discuss application, and how these 2 commandments are related to each other, we first need to know which one is the first greatest and most important – Deuteronomy 6, or Leviticus 19?

    Can you quote Jesus speaking in complete consecutive sentences somewhere else that would contradict Matthew 22:37-38, Mark 12:29-30 ?

  8. I grow weary with this endless debate. I will not convince you that are wrong in your interpretation and you are not going to convince me that I need to quit reading Paul because his theology is misguided. This comment thread is on a post from 2009 about Jesus doing the work of ministry. I will delete the entire thread and turn the comments off if this doesn’t stop.

  9. Can you tell me, quoting Jesus in complete consecutive sentences
    (not sentence fragments, or one verse out of context)
    which one of the two commandments is the Most Important – the one from Deuteronomy 6, or Leviticus 19?

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