Sharing in Ministry

KEY VERSE: “Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” —Matthew 4:23


JESUS conducted a very vigorous ministry, allowing little time for rest, and no time at all for things other than those which pertained directly or indirectly to the kingdom of God.

Regardless of the standpoint from which we view the Master; we find in him those traits of character which reveal the closeness of his walk with God, and the whole-hearted manner in which he endeavored to do the will of God. His activity in preaching the Gospel and in healing the sick is no exception to this.

Paul tells us that the Gospel was preached beforehand unto Abraham when the Lord said to him that through his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed. (Gal. 3:8,16) This theme song of good news was very prominent in the messages God gave through his holy prophets of the Old Testament. And Jesus was so thoroughly in accord with the divine plan expressed through this Gospel that it was his principal purpose in life to proclaim it to all who had a hearing ear.

We should not, as followers of the Master, overlook this important element of his character, for we cannot be truly like him unless we too are actively interested in making known the glad tidings. We should not assume that it is our privilege to select those traits of the Master’s character which we would like to copy and emulate him merely in these things. Paul speaks of growing up into Christ in “all things,” and these all things include his self-sacrificing zeal in bearing witness to the truth.—Eph 4:15

Our lesson indicates that Jesus centered his activity in Galilee when he learned John the Baptist had been put in prison. This event seemed to mark a definite period in the plan of God which served to guide Jesus with respect to the appropriate time for him to begin his ministry in Galilee. John the Baptist had immersed Jesus, and had announced his presence as the Messiah. From that time forward John’s ministry was to decrease while that of the Master was to increase, but Jesus was careful that he did not encroach upon John’s privileges of service.

When Jesus did enter Galilee preaching the Gospel it was with the announcement, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” The expression, ‘kingdom of God’, is a poor translation of the Greek text. The thought, rather, is, “God’s Royal Majesty has approached,” and the reference is to Jesus himself. (Mark 1:15, Diaglott) John had announced the coming of this great one, saying, “There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.” (Mark 1:7) Now, Jesus, in keeping with this, announced that the one mentioned by John had come, for the time was fulfilled when this Royal Majesty should appear.

On this first missionary visit to Galilee, Jesus selected four of his apostles: Simon, Andrew, James, and John. These were all fishermen, and very appropriately his invitation to them to become his followers was phrased in language which they could best appreciate.

“I will make you fishers of men,” he said. By this the Master revealed his ability to get down to the level of his hearers and talk to them in language they could understand. Mark’s account records the many acts of healing and the casting out of evil spirits, which Jesus tirelessly included in this ministerial work.

One morning soon after, rising early, Jesus went out into a solitary place to pray. When the four disciples found him, they said, “All men seek for thee.” Jesus replied, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.” “For therefore came I forth”—this expression is very much in harmony with a statement Jesus made to Pilate when he said, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” (John 18:37) It was not merely that he had gone into Galilee to preach the Gospel, but rather that this was one of the main purposes of his coming into the world.

Jesus was not commissioned to convert the world by preaching the Gospel, nor are his followers; but we are to sow the seeds of truth beside all waters, knowing the Loren will direct that the ‘meek’ will hear, and be blessed by it.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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