The Ministry Model of Jesus:
Your Life Mission
By Frank A. DeCenso
Numerous books written in the last several years have given
the believer food for thought regarding their purpose in this
life, yet long before these books were penned and published, a
purpose had been given to believers by Jesus Christ.
Coming from the Author of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10), this
purpose is not subject to cultural contextualization or seeker-friendly
fads. It transcends time, space, and nationality, and involves
all those that believe.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me,
the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than
these shall he do; because I go to the Father.”
—John 14:12, NASB
To do the very same works Jesus did—what other purpose
in life can match the awesome privilege believers have been given?
The opportunity to engage in the life-changing ministry Jesus
engaged in should be enough motivation for us to wake up each
morning with great anticipation for what God may want to do through
us for His kingdom.
It’s important to notice Jesus didn’t say that only
the apostles, members of the clergy, or a particular denomination
would be the ones doing the works. The only prerequisite is “he
who believes in Me.” No special callings; no anointed ordinations;
“Did He mean little old me?” He sure did.
He meant all believers, for all time. So if you are a believer,
your purpose is to participate in the very same ministry works
that Jesus did, and by so doing, advance the Kingdom of God; nothing
less will fulfill this awesome honor.
There are three components to His ministry that we can adopt
in order to satisfy this mandate:
- Empowerment for Mission
- Method of Empowered Mission
Together, these three components make up what I term “The
Ministry Model of Jesus," and by extension, the ministry
model we are to follow.
18"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,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
21and he began by saying to them, "Today this
scripture is fulfilled in your hearing"
—Luke 4:18-19, 21
Jesus announced His ministry by telling His hearers that the mission
articulated in Isaiah 61 was His mission. He had come to:
- Preach good news to the poor
- Proclaim freedom for prisoners
- Bring and proclaim sight to the blind
- Release the oppressed
- Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor – the forgiveness
At least three of these probably involved the miraculous—dealing
with those in some sort of captivity (“prisoners”),
those who were sick or infirm (“blind”), and those
who were “oppressed.” In addition, the preaching of
the good news of God’s kingdom by Jesus and His disciples
was usually accompanied by miraculous works:
As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.'
8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who
have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely
Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby
villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have
come." So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in
their synagogues and driving out demons.
He appointed twelve--designating them apostles—that they
might be with him and that he might send them out to preach
15and to have authority to drive out demons.
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power
and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,
2and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed
them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed
those who needed healing.
Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God
is near you.'
This wasn’t a ministry simply of wise words and gentle
counseling. It couldn’t be. The recipients of the mission
had needs that were too profound. Therefore, this ministry reached
out in power to those hurting in the deepest recesses of life—places
that the religious leaders of the day were unable to touch.
Today, we can appropriate the first part of this ministry model
by incorporating into our lives the mission Jesus undertook: that
is, a mission that reached the hurting with God’s presence
and power. Mere words aren’t enough in a world where the
needs are vast and the hurts are deep. It was true then and it
is true today. Only with God’s power can we effectively
engage this mission.
the second part, we will examine the empowerment for mission,
and the method of empowered mission.
© 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
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