Word Speak

Mark 2: 2

And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them.

Jesus’ public ministry began when he stood up to read in the synagogue. Opening the book of Isaiah, he read his commission (see Isaiah 61: 1 – 3 and Luke 4: 18 – 19). He came to preach the good news, proclaim liberty, recovery, and the year of the Lord and to free the downtrodden. In a sound bite, that is his mandate from God. Notice that his assignment included preach and proclaim. It is no wonder, then, that his ministry involved speaking the word.

Jesus’ proclamation, his preaching was of the Word of God, not of himself. Isn’t that interesting? Of all of the ministers and priests of all of the ages, if there is one who should be qualified to preach of his own knowledge, wisdom and intelligence it would seem to be Jesus. Yet, his preaching was, and is, proclaiming the Word of God. Apparently his message was so good that there was no even standing room. The Word ministered to people’s need and it still does today.

None of the things Jesus did on this earth were of himself. He always relied on the wisdom and guidance of the Father. Do you remember the story of the woman who was cast at his feet by the Pharisees, accused of adultery? They pitted Jesus in a quandary between grace and law wondering what he would choose. Either way, they figured, they would win. Jesus did not answer them immediately. Instead, he stooped down and began to write in the dirt. Finally, when they pressed him, he stood and gave such an enlightened answer that all of their guile folded back upon them. So, my question is this, “What was Jesus doing when was stooped over writing in the dirt?” We don’t really know but I believe he was inquiring of his Father.

My point is this, everything Jesus used for his ministry is available to us and even more. When Jesus spoke the Word, he only had the Old Testament writings. Think of how much we have in the New Testament with all of the stories about Jesus, words he spoke when he lived here and the writings of the apostles. I believe the power of Jesus’ ministry was that he was grounded in God’s Word. That is what he gave to people and out of that flowed the healings and miracles.

Don’t you wonder what Old Testament wisdom He spoke when he sat down to teach? Which stories did he retell? Think about it this way, we have in our hands, the substance of Jesus’ every sermon. That awes me. What did he see in those ancient texts? Whenever he preached, lives were changed. Wouldn’t every pastor in the world love to be able to make that claim. It is all there for us all, the leading of the Holy Spirit and the thoughts and wisdom of God as recorded in the Bible. Those are the tools with which Jesus changed the world. What can we do with them?

Holy Partakers

Hebrews 3: 1

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.

The writer of Hebrews addresses his audience in a peculiar way. He calls us partakers. To partake, according to the American Heritage Dictionary means to: 1. take part or have a share: participate, 2. to take or be given part or portion. Applying that definition to today’s passage means that we, each, have been given a part or a portion of a heavenly calling and further, that we take part, have a share in and participate in this heavenly calling. What, then, is this heavenly calling of which the author speaks?

Jesus is our part and portion. Jesus the Apostle, Jesus the High Priest operates in those two offices to this day. He was anointed to these offices. We see his anointing and the job classification in Isaiah 61: 1 – 3. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,” it says, “because the Lord has anointed me to . . . .” You can read on to see what the anointing was intended to do which is the job description, if you will. Obviously this passage in Isaiah was written long before Jesus entered the earth as the Messiah but not before God’s great plan and the anticipation of the great savior. So, think of this passage, if you will, as the job posting. God posted a job opening on the bulletin board listing its qualifications and requirements as well as the job duties. No one was able to accept that job until Luke 4: 18 when Jesus entered the temple and accepted the position. Beginning in verse 16 of Luke 4 we read, “And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him and He opened the book ad found the place where it was written, ‘THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO . . . .’”  Enter the King, Priest and Apostle of our faith.

Some years ago God gave me Isaiah 61: 1 – 3 as a prophetic word for my life. Initially I rejected it because I read it with the eyes of ego. In other words, when I read it my eyes were on me and I was overwhelmed. A false sense of humility overcame me resulting in my rejection of this Word from the Lord. I say that it was a false sense of humility rather than an honest one because I was looking at myself rather than at the Lord. A truly humble person does not have their eyes on themselves. Well, this is just proof that God can use anyone who will humble themselves which I soon did. Once having submitted my rather out of control ego to the Lord I realized that each of us is called under this same chapter and verse. Yes, it is our anointing in a sense because we are all called to partake of Jesus’ mission. The anointing I operate under, then, is not my own but rather that portion and part of Jesus’ which he has shared with me. I do not have my own anointing but I am anointed by him and of him for the equipping of the saints and for all those job duties that you read about in Isaiah 61 and Luke 4. We are all called to serve in the department of ministry under our chief administrator, Jesus.

This somewhat complex spiritual truth becomes easily understandable when I view it in these terms. We are all partakers of Jesus’ heavenly calling. Realizing that we are all a part of Jesus’ department may also take some of the self-imposed pressure off of us. We are not called to take on this assignment alone but rather as a part of a department with many others and with a department head who is all capable. Not only is Jesus super-capable but additionally he gives us his authority and power each time he assigns us a task. That means you do not have to succeed in the task in your own name or strength but rather that you proceed in the name and power of the head. Isn’t that a relief? Whatever God has given you to do you can do it because Jesus is authorizing the project in his name. Whooo Hoo!  

We are partakers, co-laborers with Jesus, anointed with a portion of his anointing, empowered with his might, armed with his authority. We do not have to bring much to the table; only obedience and humble submission. We must be willing to be led and directed according to his wisdom and instructions. Success is assured when we understand this paradigm because it is all done in the power of Jesus and his anointing. The weight is not upon our shoulders but rather on his and he can well bear it. We have only to do as he leads and all will be well.