Jesus has been ministering to all who are brought to Him and to all who sought Him out. Each and every time, those He touched, those He spoke to and those around Him were better off. Every time people met Him they could see, hear and experience the Kingdom of God breaking in. Jesus is anointed of God and He leaves a trail of evidence behind Him that He is anointed of God. The poor have heard good news preached, the prisoners of sin have been freed, the blind have their sight restored, those oppressed by demonic spirits are released. The lame walk, and the mute speak again! It truly is exactly as Jesus said it was in His first public address (see Luke 4:16-21).
One might think that such profound works of God would lead people to draw obvious conclusions. But they do not. In fact, though they are being ministered to constantly, the crowd is simply “amazed”. Their conclusion (as it is) is simply a remark that no one has ever seen anything like what is happening before. They are so caught up in what is going on they do not see or appreciate that God Himself has come to Israel. They only want to see more, to hear more and experience more. To them, Jesus is a traveling festival of cool stuff.
That’s disappointing for sure. Far worse though, is that the better educated and more capable are coming to conclusions. Negative ones! “The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”” Sadly, the Pharisees to this point have not even had a face to face conversation with Jesus. They’ve just talked to His disciples, and that only to criticize Him.
Ministry begins with the work of blessing people with the reality of God. That blessing is a mirror that reveals truth. Both the truth of God, and also the truth of who those being blessed really are. It reveals God because it is an act of God, done by the power of the Spirit of God, by the anointed of God. So it always draws a crowd. Some in that crowd will see God in the blessing and immediately recognize that they belong with Him (and so are changed). But the great majority are ambivalent about God. They see the works of God and are amazed, but they not changed. The blessing means as much to them as a street festival performance. They see the work of God but they cannot recognize it for what it is because their ambivalence toward Him clouds their sight. At most, they’ll take advantage of the blessing as just a random blessing (for no particular reason at all).
Sadly, a few will go much further in the wrong direction by reflecting their own rejection of God. They damn what is happening without even speaking to those involved, reacting to the blessing with hatred because they’ve already given their souls over to their own darkness. Even more sadly, some of those are the very ‘servants of God’ that society looks to for guidance and direction in the things of God.
Time, power and money will make you more of what you already are. That’s why the work of ministry is so important. Blessing people with the reality of God at least lets them see who they are, before they etch that character in the stone of eternity.
Ministers are powerless people who have nothing to boast of except their weaknesses. But when the Lord whom they serve fills them with His blessing they will move mountains and change the hearts of people wherever they go.Henri Nouwen
How are you bringing the blessing of God to others today? Are you ready for the responses – both positive and negative?