JESUS CHRIST has our best MINISTRY MODEL: "The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ--He is Lord of all-- that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:36-38)
As we read Acts chapter 10, we see the events unfolding regarding how the church extends to the Gentiles (non-Jews), which was God’s plan from eternity past. For this great event, God uses Peter as a fulfillment to the prophetical words of Jesus earlier: "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah…I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church…, and I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matt 16:17-19)
Peter uses the “keys” for the third and last time as he opens the door of faith to the Gentiles. How wonderful is the providence of God! Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, was being prepared for his life’s work among the Gentiles; but it was Peter that God used to break down the ancient barriers between Jews and Gentiles: “Known to God from eternity are all His works” (15:18).
At this point Peter summarizes the life and teachings of the Lord Jesus, and presents His ministry model in a clear and concise manner for our benefit. We can distill the following six points regarding how Jesus modeled His ministry while He was upon this earth:
- The word that Jesus preached was from His Heavenly Father alone: "the word which God sent to the children of Israel…through Jesus Christ” (v. 36). We know from the Gospels that Jesus spent a lot of time in commune with His Heavenly Father, and received the word that He gave to His hearers. During His high priestly prayer close to His crucifixion, Jesus could report this matter to His Heavenly Father: "For I have given to them the words which You have given Me" (John 17:8). Let us also endeavor to preach only the word that we receive from God, our Heavenly Father.
- Jesus started preaching from His hometown after His baptism and then expanded His ministry: “that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached” (v. 37). Our ministry should also originate only after our public identification with Christ, and we should start from our hometown (“Jerusalem” – Acts 1:8). Then, we can expand our ministry to other geographical regions.
- The ministry of Jesus was empowered by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” (v. 38a). After Jesus came out from the Jordan River after being baptized in water, we see that "the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him" (Luke 3:22). Right after that event, Jesus "being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness" (Luke 4:1). The ministry of Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit. That is why, Jesus told His disciples to wait for the same empowerment (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5, 8). Our ministry should also be empowered by the Holy Spirit as well.
- Jesus went about doing good to everyone He met: “who went about doing good” (v. 38b). Everywhere Jesus went; He should His compassion to people, and did not refuse anyone who came to Him. Our ministry should also be propelled by the dictum: “Do good to everyone”.
- Jesus healed everyone who was oppressed by Satan: “healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (v. 38c). Jesus knew very well that all sickness was a result of satanic activity who existed in order to "steal, and to kill, and to destroy", but He came to give abundant life (John 10:10). Our ministries should document signs, wonders and miracles as well, as Jesus had emphasized while He was on earth: "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mark 16:17-18)
- Finally, God the Father guided the ministry of Jesus: “for God was with Him” (v. 38d). Let God guide our ministry always as we journey in the path He has prepared for us. "For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death." (Psalms 48:14)