It’s In Your Job Description
One of the main functions of Jesus while he was here and even after he left was to impart his ministry to others. In doing so, he was able to advance God’s rule many times over. The commission that Jesus gave his disciples is the same commission that he gives his disciples today. Doing the works of Jesus is not an option in the life of his followers; it should be the everyday practice of each member of the body of Christ. We are not only supposed to speak the word of the good news, but we are to also do the works of the good news. They are the same. Yet, nearly two millenniums later millions have not heard the words of the good news or seen the works of the good news. The members of the ecclesiae need to allow the empowering of the Spirit to enable them to be actively involved in speaking the words and doing the works of Jesus. Jesus transferred his ministry to his disciples and then evaluated the results of how they did. Let’s see how that worked.
Eight Observations About How Jesus Trained Others
❶ The most important part of the training process for the disciples of Jesus was seeing him model what they were going to do. Mark told his readers that first Jesus’ disciples were to be with him and then they would be sent out to have authority and drive out demons (3.14). The being with him was the perfect opportunity for Jesus to model his ministry for his disciples. What they saw was what they were eventually going to do. Day in and day out they walked dusty paths in Israel with Jesus and heard him speak the words of the kingdom and do the works of the kingdom in his teaching. Certainly, they saw his joy and some of the strain that came with kingdom ministry. By watching his example, they would know what to do when they were sent out to minister. Jesus clearly did his ministry while they watched, then released them to go and do the same ministry, and then come back and report what had happened. Finally, he left them doing the ministry he had modeled for them (see the book of Acts).
❷ We can note about the training method of Jesus that he gave ministry opportunities to committed people. The twelve disciples that he chose were committed to him. They were a dissimilar group with varying backgrounds that had extreme differences (Mark 3.16-19). There was a tax collector who was in league with Rome and a Zealot who hated anyone in league with Rome. The job of Jesus was changing their character (Mark 4.19) and love for each other and getting them to think and act like they were representatives of the rule of God. But even when he sent them out, they were still not perfect. There was a process in giving ministry away. First, it was to the twelve disciples (Mark 3.14), then to seventy-two disciples (Luke 10.1-23), and then to the ecclesiae (Acts 2). Remember, everyone gets to play because Jesus set down those rules.
❸ We observe that Jesus transferred his ministry by a commission. He commissioned his followers and gave them power (Mark 3.14) to go and heal after he modeled what they were to say and do. They operated with the authority of Jesus. He not only gave them the responsibility but the authority to speak his words and do his works. This impartation of ministry did not change just because Jesus ascended. The commission that he gave still stands for all followers of Jesus who are empowered to fill his commission.
❹ We watch as Jesus gave instructions (Luke 10.3ff.) as he sent his disciples out to minister. He told them where they could go. He told them who to go and minister to. Today the Spirit continues this ministry of telling followers of Jesus where and to whom to minister. He told those disciples to pronounce that the kingdom of God was available to them. He told them to travel light. He told them to allow others to provide hospitality and support to their ministry. He told them not to waste time with “time wasters” that is, those who reject the rule of God for their lives. He told them that they should expect persecution and that the Holy Spirit would be with them to empower their ministry.
❺ As they went, they encountered difficulty. When they arrived at a pace to minister, there was a thrill among the people to whom they had come because the demons were subject to them. However, as time elapsed, there was pride and carnality as they tried to stop others who were healing in the name of Jesus, and as they fought over position around Jesus. They lapsed into unbelief and argumentation. The religious leaders found ways to bring persecution to the early ecclesiae as we can discover in the book of Acts.
❻ We learn that healing occurred by asserting their faith as the Holy Spirit continued the ministry of Jesus in them. When Peter and John healed the man (Acts 3.1ff.) who was lame in Jerusalem’s Beautiful gate, Peter had to explain that it was because of Jesus and faith, not because of Peter and John’s spirituality. James told his readers that if a person has faith when he or she prays, the sick will be healed (James 5.15). We should note that in this passage it is not the one being prayed for that needs the faith, but the one who is praying. Faith should be present when one is being prayed for, but the point is that the person who is being prayed for should not always bear the brunt of having to have the faith to be healed. In addition to faith, there were other activities that they were involved in like speaking, laying on hands, etc. These were all done as the Spirit gave direction. We should not overlook that, for the most part, they operated in teams. Even though Jesus was the model, he worked inside a team, the twelve disciples.
❼ We can observe that the ministry of healing passed on by Jesus had a universal as well as a cosmic effect. When the seventy-two disciples returned from their mission and reported to Jesus, he exclaimed that he saw Satan fall from heaven (Luke 10.18). This is not a reference to a pre-creation fall of Satan, but the binding of his power in the ministry of the disciples as they carried out their marching orders to bring the rule of God into the lives of the people to whom they had been sent to minister. Satan’s kingdom suffers defeat each time a person is brought to faith, each time a demonic influence is broken, and each time an ill person is healed. The ministry of healing was one of the greatest means of evangelism that the early ecclesiae had at their disposal. The book of Acts demonstrates that they turned the world “upside-down” (Acts 17.6 NRSV). In fact, they were turning the world right-side up.
❽ Let’s note that the healing ministry of Jesus is still alive and well for you to become a part of today. It is up to you to join in speaking the words of Jesus and doing the works of Jesus just as Jesus and his disciples did. Studying this material is not the goal. Being empowered and healing people is the goal. Create a way you can become involved in the ministry of Jesus.
Community Discussion Questions
➡ |CDQ Info|
- What part of the training cycle have you been involved in?
- What are your greatest fears about entering into a ministry of healing?
- If you have been practicing “doin’ the stuff,” what difficulties have you encountered? How did you solve them?
- How often in your personal ministry do you see Satan falling?
- Why is watching and then doing so important?