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The Ministry Model of Jesus: How We Are to Minister

By Frank A. DeCenso
Guest Writer

CBN.comEmpowerment for Mission

37You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. (Acts 10:37-38)

Jesus’ mission required power that could only come from God. No super-prophet could have done the job; no well-educated scribe had the necessary equipment. Only someone empowered by God would have been up to the task. Jesus was. He came to earth in the likeness of men, laid aside His divine attributes, and lived among men and women as a man under the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit. He was the example of One who could fulfill the task of reaching an immensely hurting world by bringing them God's presence, power, and love.

The disciples in Acts understood the need for this supernatural empowerment.

29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." (Acts 4:29-30)

For them, performing the missional works of Jesus required something special – a divine partnership with God in bringing His gospel to the world. The anointing and power Jesus had been given wasn’t just for Him. All believers who desired to do the works of Jesus needed it, and as a result of humble prayer, received it.

12The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. (Acts 5:12a)

14Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed. (Acts 5:14-16)

8Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. (Acts 6:8)

6When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. 8So there was great joy in that city. (Acts 8:6-8)

32As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda. 33There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. 34"Aeneas," Peter said to him, "Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat." Immediately Aeneas got up. 35All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. (Acts 9:32-35)

3So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. (Acts 14:3)

11God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. (Acts 19:11-12)

God’s power was more than sufficient for the task of reaching the needs of the sick and demonized. A result of the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit poured out through those believers was that multitudes also came to the Lord for salvation. As Jesus had the Father “with Him,” the disciples had God the Holy Spirit, Who greatly empowered them for the mission in which they were engaged.

Likewise, we can cry out to God for the same anointing of the Holy Spirit and power that Jesus had and the believers in Acts received, and when God answers our prayers, we will reach this hurting and dying world in ways that mere words and counsel never can.

With so much pain in this world, how can we know those to minister to and how to minister individually to them? This question brings us to the third component.

Method of Empowered Mission

19Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. (John 5:19-20)

Couched in the context of these statements in John 5, an important element in Jesus' ministry model is revealed. Jesus was at a pool that had many sick people around it.

2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie--the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. (John 5:2-3)

Out of the crowd of the ill, Jesus healed one man. His statement in verse 19 indicates He followed the direction of the Father and only did what He saw the Father doing. Jesus didn’t minister under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and power randomly, nor did He clear out this pool of all the sick people. He followed the Father's lead and proclaimed what the Father was doing or had already done. There were times multitudes came to Him and He healed them all (Luke 4:40; Matthew 4:23-24; 9:35; 15:29-30; 19:1-2; 21:14). But based on Jesus’ own words in John 5:19, we can assume it was the Father’s will to heal all those individuals on those occasions. But for some reason, not at the Bethesda pool.

An interesting word is used in verse 20 for “loves.” It is the Greek word phileo and it means to be friends, to be fond of, perhaps even to kiss. Jesus, in essence, said that the Father and the Son are friends working together to accomplish the mission the Son came to do. An important principle emerges here—divine friendship leads to divine partnership.

As we become fond friends of God through intimacy with Him, He will begin to lead us to folks that need to be healed, delivered, and saved. In those times, His anointing will give us the power we need to proclaim the kingdom of God to them, and not only will their visibly apparent needs be met, but they will also come to know the God of the universe in a greater way than they would have had we simply counseled them with wise words.

Embracing Jesus’ mission, being empowered by God for the mission, and following the Father's leading in the mission together constitute a model of ministry that will enable us to be much more effective in advancing God’s kingdom in this pain-laden world.

© Frank A. DeCenso. All Scripture references are NIV unless otherwise noted.

Frank has been teaching the Bible in churches and other venues for more than 20 years. He is currently the Ministry Resources Director at Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Virginia Beach, Va. He is an employee at Regent University in the Information Technology Department. Frank is married and lives in Virginia Beach.

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