Saturday, August 08, 2015

Humility In Ministry

The gospel doesn't need a bunch of hype.


John 7:6-11  Jesus replied, "Now is not the right time for Me to go, but you can go anytime.  7  The world can't hate you, but it does hate Me because I accuse it of doing evil.  8  You go on. I'm not going to this festival, because My time has not yet come."  9  After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.  10  But after His brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view.  11  The Jewish leaders tried to find Him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen Him.

John 8:1-11  Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives,  2  but early the next morning He was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and He sat down and taught them.

Yesterday in the temple Jesus invited the crowds to come to him if they had a spiritual thirst. The reactions to Jesus offer were very diverse. Some people were convinced that he could satisfy their spiritual longing but then there were others who wanted him arrested.

You may recall from John chapter seven that Jesus didn't enter the temple with a bunch of fanfare or attention, he just blended in with the crowd, that is until he started teaching. His teaching always made him stand out, even when he was a little boy, Jesus message always drew a crowd. (Luke 2:41-52)
John 7:14-15 Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. The people were surprised when they heard Him. "How does He know so much when He hasn't been trained?" they asked.
John chapter seven is all about the commotion that followed after Jesus gave his message. The place was in an uproar, mean things were being said, people were being disrespectful to Jesus and then in the midst of all of this chaos Jesus finishes the message and moves on to the invitation.
"Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me! Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'"
That just made things worse because now they are trying to arrest him! Some people think that he is correct in saying things that the Messiah would say but they are a minority. Other people are skeptical and others are completely opposed to Jesus.

After all of the commotion in the temple, somehow it settles down enough for people to go home for the day, everybody except for Jesus. Maybe there were other homeless people in the temple that day but he was the least deserving person to be without shelter. While everybody else went to their house to rest for the night Jesus went to the garden.

He slept out in the cold on the Mount of Olives many times, I have to wonder how little he slept. Did he look tired and older than he really was because of sleep deprivation? Remember when he said the foxes and birds have homes but the creator of the universe didn't have a place to lay his head? (Matthew 8:20)

In the morning Jesus went back to the temple, he quietly went in, sat down and he taught. It would be tempting to think that there is no way that he is going to go back and teach a crowd that is so opposed to his message. But he returns and the opposition comes along too. (John 8:1-59)

You might think that Jesus should make an announcement or pass out flyers to let people know that he was going to be at the temple at a certain time. He didn't put out any signs, he didn't announce that the greatest teacher in the world was about to begin.
Keep It Simple
1 Corinthians 2:1-3  When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn't use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God's secret plan.  2  For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the One who was crucified.  3  I came to you in weakness--timid and trembling.
The Apostle Paul knew that he needed to keep it simple, not that his audience was slow to learn, he knew that the gospel is supposed to be what draws people in. There's no place for sensationalism in a gospel presentation.

John the Baptist started his ministry in a remote location, there weren't any neon lights or banners directing the crowds to take a walk to the desert. John would always point people to Jesus and push the attention away from himself. The people that followed John had it all wrong, they should have come to John just long enough to be redirected to Jesus, their complaint that "everybody is going to Him instead of coming to us" was so absurd. (John 3:26)

Peter's message after Jesus ascension into heaven was so bold and simple. The crowds knew that he didn't go to rabi school, he was an ordinary man, and yet his message was extraordinary and it drew the crowds. (Acts 4:12-13)
John 12:32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself."
Jesus said that he would be the good news that would attract people. We need to remember:

✔  The more that people see of Jesus the less they will see of us.
✔  The key is availability and teaching.
✔  Just give the Word, it's all about the message not the method

Thank you Lord for choosing to use me to tell the good news of the gospel. I pray that I will not get in the way of the message.