Luke 4:40-44Common English Bible
40 When the sun was setting, everyone brought to Jesus, relatives and acquaintances with all kinds of diseases. Placing his hands on each of them, he healed them. 41 Demons also came out of many people. They screamed, “You are God’s Son.” But he spoke harshly to them and wouldn’t allow them to speak because they recognized that he was the Christ. 42 When daybreak arrived, Jesus went to a deserted place. The crowds were looking for him. When they found him, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said to them, “I must preach the good news of God’s kingdom in other cities too, for this is why I was sent.” 44 So he continued preaching in the Judean synagogues.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Ministry success is easily attributable to Jesus.
He captivated thousands because he taught “as one with authority” (Mark 1:22). He was utterly unique, like no one they had ever seen nor heard before.
Each Child of God is utterly unique, like no one else anyone has seen before. We all uniquely offer a unique diversity of God given gifts to God’s unique kingdom.
He made himself available to people when they needed a presence – (verse 40)
He did something incredible positive with His availability – healing – (verse 40)
He did something incredibly powerful with His availability – rebuking demons with an unheard-of authority (verse 41).
He was incredibly available and incredibly flexible, would preach to thousands, heal the sick, and spend time with the untouchables. At one point, his renown, authority was so great that people tried to make him king by force (John 6:15).
He took time for himself – to make himself available to His Father in Heaven. (Verse 42) How frequently do we honor our Father by honoring His Sabbath?
How often do we prioritize making ourselves available to God and his healing? Do we value “setting ourselves apart” and permitting God to Minister unto us?
Rabbi Jesus recognized that his ministry was ever changing according to the purposes set aside by His Father in Heaven and he needed to be flexible in his ministry – keeping his focus on the purposes of his Father God knowing when to move onto the diversity of needs, addressing the needs of people elsewhere (verses 43 and 44).
Rabbi Jesus could have stayed where he was and regularly had large crowds gather in his presence. But what did Jesus do with this “ministry success?”
Did he set up headquarters, hang up signs, pass out flyers, and increase seating capacity? Did he get hung up on denominational differences, and divisiveness?
Did he stay with the people begging him to remain and bask in their adoration?
Praise God! Absolutely not. That’s not how Jesus defined ministry success.
Real Ministry Success
Rabbi Jesus focused only on his God ordained purpose: to teach the truth. Jesus repeatedly says this in passages like John 18:37 and Mark 1:35–39, as well.
Jesus did not look to boasting of the crowds as proof of his success in ministry. He did not withhold his identity from people flocking to hear, see, touch him.
His sole focus? He did and said only what the Father led him to do (John 5:19).
For what purpose of His Father God was His Son, Rabbi Jesus led to do?
Preach the Gospel — Announce the Good News to all people.
Luke 4:14-19Common English Bible
Jesus announces good news to the poor
14 Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news about him spread throughout the whole countryside. 15 He taught in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
16 Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue as he normally did and stood up to read. 17 The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
to proclaim release to the prisoners
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to liberate the oppressed,
19 and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.[a]
For what other purposes did God send His Son?
Offer the people an everlasting connection to God.
Offer the people an everlasting relationship to God.
Offer the people an everlasting Koinonia – fellowship with God.
John 3:16-17English Standard Version
For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, [a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Luke 19:10English Standard Version
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
John 10:14-18English Standard Version
14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So, there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
A thought. It can be tempting to look at success in ministry as a numbers game.
The more people that come to our church or ministry, the more successful we are in the kingdom.
Except numbers never define success – God defines success by relationships.
Steadfast and Immovable, Faithful under all circumstances, Connections, Koinonia, Fellowship, Relationships with Him, His Son and the Holy Spirit.
God defines success in relationships by His Son’s understanding of Success:
Mark 10:42-45English Standard Version
42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great one’s exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, [a] 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave[b] of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
God’s Servant Leader Rabbi Jesus is a great example for what success looks like.
Jesus teaches us that success is not merely defined by popularity or crowds, but by our steadfast and faithful obedience to God and to his purposes for our lives.
Faithfulness is the key to ministry success.
But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t define faithfulness as merely plodding along, barely making a ripple for the Kingdom of God…
…not even close!
What’s the root word in faithfulness? Faith!
Jesus didn’t simply bumble along.
He had absolute faith in what the Father had called him to do.
So much faith that he bet his entire life on it.
To faithfully pursue God’s purpose means two things:
- To desire his will infinitely more than our own finite and temporary glory.
- To believe he will accomplish his mission in us and through us for His sake.
Are we faithfully Pursuing God’s Mission?
So, are we pursuing God’s mission for us?
So, are we aware of God’s purpose for us?
Our ministry and mission fields might be:
- Our family, both biological and church families
- Our workplace,
- Our schools,
- Our communities and neighborhoods,
- Our vocational ministry – inside the church, missional outside the church,
- Our volunteer work,
- Or anywhere else God ordains us to be (Isaiah 6:8-11).
Define your mission field.
Refine your measurement of ministry success.
And above all, have a steadfast and immovable faith – God always accomplishes his will— God will always fulfill His purpose for me, and he will do so through you, too.
Psalm 138:8English Standard Version
8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Individually, how well do we, in our contemporary 2022 context, understand our God (not ourselves) fulfilling His singularly unique purpose for our lives?
Individually, how well do we, in our contemporary 2022 context, understand faithfulness to God’s fulfilling of our singularly unique purpose for our lives?
Individually, how well do we, in our contemporary 2022 context, understand faithful obedience to God’s fulfilling of our singularly unique purpose for us?
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Sovereign God, You have authored my life, have ordered each of my steps and opened this door to success in my life. With this new path comes a new uncertainty that tempts me to fear. Make me strong, Mighty God! Make me courageous, God of Heaven! In the face of new challenges, I will trust You. For from You comes Your Spirit which empowers me to be Your witness in all circumstances. In Jesus’ name. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.