THREE PARTS OF THE MINISTRY OF JESUS
"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, (1) teaching in their synagogues,
(2) and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, (3) and healing every sickness and every disease among the people."
Jesus had a great range of ministry. He did not restrict Himself to ministering to one class, to one economic level, to only the healthy, or to only the powerful.
heal the leper, even though lepers were the ostracized. He even touched the one He healed, though others would not come within six feet of the lepers
heal the centurion's servant, even though the Romans were hated by the Jews
call Matthew to be one of His disciples, though Matthew was a hated publican (tax collector)
cast out demons, though the demons were feared
forgive and heal a very wicked man lowered through the roof.
Jesus had authority and power over all:
SICKNESS... Jesus could heal all sicknesses. (Matthew 8:14-17)
NATURE... Jesus could calm the storm. (Matthew 8:23-27)
DEMONS... Jesus casts them out... (Matthew 8:28-31)
SIN... Jesus forgave the man lowered through the roof. (Matthew 9:1-8)
DEATH... Jesus brought back to life the daughter of Jairus. (Matthew 9:18-26)
Jesus did not just teach as One Who thought that He had authority. Jesus actually did have authority, and He proved it.
"taught as One with authority."
This is said in chapter 7 of Matthew, and then in chapters 8 and 9, Jesus shows His authority over sickness, sin, demons, nature, and death. Nothing can limit His authority.
Jesus began His sermons with the same sermon that John the baptist had preached. Jesus taught the same message of "REPENT", but His ministry took on many differences from John's.
John the baptist's former disciples asked about the differences:
"...Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out, and the wine skins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins."
Newness, change, should be a part of the Christian experience. God is a God of variety. You do not have to be a clone of Paul, Peter, Moses, Elijah, etc. We are all different. The Lord did not treat John as He did Peter. David was treated differently than Isaiah. All ministries differ.
Each new age has required different people with different personalities, different approaches. The Bible is a testimony to this.
Jesus called Himself to be the "SON OF MAN". The term is used 94 times in the New Testament, 89 times by Christ, and 5 times by others. Jesus wanted to emphasize His full humanity, and His earthly ministry.
In Matthew 8:29, the demons called Jesus to be the "SON OF GOD". But Jesus chose to use the term "SON OF MAN" as His title.
Jesus wanted to be recognized as a man:
Who could forgive sins...
Who could heal bodies...
Who could give life...
Who could give sight...
Who could calm storms...
This authority that Jesus had, He has chosen to share with His own.
"...He called His 12 disciples and gave them authority."
After establishing His own authority, He shared it... Everywhere Jesus went He saw men "like sheep without a shepherd." (Matthew 9:36).
Then in Matthew 9:38:
"...turned to the disciples, Ask the Lord of the harvest, to send out workers."
Finally, in Matthew 10:1, Jesus gave them "AUTHORITY" to do the work. Jesus told them to "raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons..."
Jesus did not coerce men, and He did not tell them to seek riches or carry riches. He told them that some would hate them, despite their authority.
In the two "miracle" chapters 8 and 9 of Matthew, Jesus shows a WILLINGNESS TO HEAL, an AUTHORITY AND POWER TO HEAL AND DO MIRACLES, and a FORGIVENESS. Jesus astounded the people with His willingness to forgive the man lowered through the roof. Then, as He left the house, Jesus stopped long enough to invite the most hated man in town, Matthew the tax collector, to be His disciple.
"As Jesus passed forth from then He saw a man named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom; He saith unto him, Follow Me. And he arose and followed Him."
In the middle of Matthew's description of Jesus' healing and miracle ministry, and in the midst of the one miracle that showed the forgiveness of sins to those sick. Matthew includes the account of his call to discipleship. Matthew obviously considered his call to discipleship to be a miracle of love and forgiveness.
Matthew was considered a sinner, simply due to his trade... a tax collector. If Jesus could invite Matthew, the most hated man of the community, to follow Him, that would be a miracle of mercy and love. Jesus had power to heal and do miracles... but He also had mercy, love, and forgiveness.
Fortunately, power, authority, mercy, and love go together. When the world sees that, the sinners, those feeling the terrible effects of sin in their lives will come to Jesus.
"...many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples."
Sinners flocked to Jesus. Many today try to win the healthy, wealthy, and wise... of the world... and find them unwilling, hesitant, and unconcerned about Jesus. But, those who go to the exit doors of the local bars, to the hospital rooms of the sick and dying, and to the prison cells of the incarcerated felons find many who will willingly listen to the hope of Jesus. The church congregations who are forgiving, compassionate, and loving will have many to whom to minister.
The Jewish teachers of that day spoke little, if at all, of forgiveness. They talked repentance and change. But, the Lord's way was to forgive first, and expect change second. Too many want others to change first, and then they will later forgive such person.
Repentance of the Bible is a change of mind with the change of mind, God will then forgive... and then comes the change of life. God's way is to have the forgiveness in the middle.
Man's way is to put forgiveness at the end, and they want a change of mind, and then a change of life... and then they will consider forgiveness, and in reality, it is usually a conditional, probational forgiveness. Man's way and God's way has always been in conflict. If we are His representatives on this earth, we must follow His way. This is difficult for many!
Matthew was collecting taxes when Jesus called him. Jesus looked at Matthew when He walked by, and knew that within Matthew was a change of mind.
The community still hated this collector of taxes. Matthew had paid the Romans much money to have the right to collect the taxes and some extra money for himself. Matthew was not only a publican, but a "mokhes", one who stood himself at the custom house.
The Jews would not even allow the publicans to repent and be fully accepted. Some who tried it, still were held at a distance from "devout Jews." Repentance for a publican was next to impossible. Yet, Jesus said, "Follow Me." Matthew, who had little hope of ever even being forgiven by Jesus, now found that he was a chosen disciple. Jesus knew that Matthew wanted forgiveness, so Jesus went one step beyond forgiveness to offering a position, a ministry.