Continuing with the See the Bishop Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls

Chapter 4

The Method of Our Shepherd

Jesus anointed ministry had an anointed method "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel...... " Luke 4:18 How did Jesus implement the preaching of the gospel? First of all He used the Word of God. Jesus said: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." John 14:10-11

Jesus set His heart and mind on the completion of the ministry given Him by His father. "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." John 17:4

Notice also Vs. 10 here as well as Vs.11  Jesus clearly states that His life was a demonstration of His words. Therefore, they are synonymous to each other. In effect, His life was preaching the reality of His words. Jesus did not try to attract or impress His audience with His profound intellect by using words He would have to explain to them. He chose words the people around Him understood. He was observant and used the common things around them to illustrate His words. He also referred to their past knowledge and experiences in their life to illustrate a truth or a principle He was teaching.

However, Jesus selected those who would understand Him by using parables. Stories that would reach the heart of those with open hearts and spiritual perception, but would be meaningless to His adversaries. Consider Jesusí Words: "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given." Matthew 13:10-11 Earlier Jesus had said: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." Matthew 7:6

Jesus often used questions to open the mind and heart of those that heard Him. He used these questions to focus their attention on a subject He wanted to address, or a point He wanted them to see. He often used questions to those to whom He spoke so they would think about what He was saying. Questions often caused them to look introspectively more easily than an outright rebuke.

Jesus practiced discipleship, personally training those who would replace Him in His ministry, teaching them consumed most of His time. Therefore, the bulk of Jesus ministry was teaching rather than preaching. It is also important to notice Jesus never tried to sell Himself to others. He simply revealed the truth of the Father and Himself. Indeed, He often put stumbling blocks in front of His hearerís self interest motivating their following Him. "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?".......Vs.21"Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions" Matthew 19:16,21-22 It is equally important to note Jesus did not pressure those who heard Him to accept Him or His Words. He let it be the drawing of the Father and the choice of their free will.

Discipleship had a high price in Jesusí life and ministry. It consumed His whole life. Jesusí ministry consumed all of His time. He was always away from home, with people He was trying to reach, or teach. Jesus set His heart and mind on the completion of the ministry given Him by His father. "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." John 17:4

Jesusí ministry also consumed His thoughts and prayer life. He spent much time in prayer for His life and ministry as well as for His followers. Jesus had little time for personal pleasure; that seemed to be visiting with His close friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus in Bethany. Apparently that was the only place He could relax and enjoy some fellowship. Even there, He was teaching them, enlarging their faith. Indeed, Jesusí ministry cost Him His family, with only His mother and two half- brothers, James and Jude, accepting Him for who and what He is. However, James and Jude did not do that until after His crucifixion and resurrection. Sadly there is no scriptural evidence that any of His half sisters ever accepted Him.

It is also important to see Jesus also used good works to perform His ministry. He fed the five thousand, when they hungered. He stilled the storm for the fearful; He healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead. The focus of Jesusí ministry was people. His time was spent with the people He was trying to bring the Gospel to or to disciple. Many times that took Him to people and places the religious leaders would not go. "And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Matthew 9:11-13 

Remember the woman of Samaria was also surprised at Jesus speaking to her. "Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans." John 4:9 

Notice: Jesus was not concerned with what people had done or who people were, but their openness to Him and His word.

Jesus life and ministry was not one of wealth, or prominence, ease, or pleasure. His ministry was one of poverty and loneliness. His life was also one of sadness as He contemplated the state of the people he came to save. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." Matthew 23:37-39

Even though Jesus came to his own and they received Him not, the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls faithfully fulfilled the ministry given by His Father. He never compromised His message by His methods, to lessen His opposition and get a following. Both were mocked and rejected by the religious leaders of His day. Yet regardless of how they responded to Him He manifested His love, mercy, and grace, to all those to whom He ministered. Because of this, Jesus was able to say the greatest words that could be said in His prayer to His Father. "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." John 17:4

All His under shepherds should consider these words and what He said later in His prayer.  "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; John 17:18-20

Should not His under shepherds practice their ministry the same way their Chief Shepherd practiced His? Should they not be willing to pay the same price He paid to do so? How about those who believe on His name through the disciples word? Does that not include every believer?

Again I remind you, the rebuke of the Lord applies to me, as much as any one else. It is this awareness that has caused me to write this book, with the prayer others will see this also.

May the Lord help us to be more and more like Him, Amen and Amen

 Your friend in Christ Warren T. Smith

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