As time goes on, Christ continues ministering. It doesn’t matter where He is, or what He is doing, He keeps ministering. However, as you will see, the people’s response to Him contrasts greatly. A paralytic is brought to Him. He tells him that his sins are forgiven, and not long after that, to get up and walk. The scribes (educated folk) criticize him for the first thing, and the people were awestruck and praise YHWH for both. Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees criticize Him for mingling with the rabble. Meanwhile, the tax collectors and sinners come to repentance. John (the Baptist)’s disciples critically question him about why they and even the Pharisees disciples fast, but Jesus’ don’t. Jesus replies that now is not the right time. If you expect too much from someone or something at the wrong time, you can destroy the work that needs to be done.
Day by day, people keep coming to Him, in spite of the scribes and Pharisees criticisms. We actually begin to see deep contrasts in who and how people come to Him. A synagogue official (public VIP figure) comes boldly to Him pleading with Him to heal and revive his dead daughter. Meanwhile an unclean woman with an issue of blood comes to Him secretly hoping to get a scrap from the master’s table. She wants to be healed. While she comes in secret, He heals her publicly. While the leader calls to Him publicly, Jesus heals his daughter in secret.
As He goes on and casts out demons, the religious leaders follow along with the gentile beliefs and decide that the only way for a demon to be cast out is if you send in a stronger, tougher demon to kick the first one out. But then you end up with a different, stronger, demon to deal with.
Yet none of this matters to Jesus. He feels compassion for the people for they are like sheep without a shepherd. So, what’s His response? That answer is in chapter 10.
It’s amazing how even simple daily chores and tasks can be so very different day-by-day when we are connected to other people. Our lives can have set schedules and predefined plans, but once you add in the “other person” factor, everything we plan and do suddenly changes. Our “set schedule” suddenly becomes a possible plan or a good idea or a guarantee of what WON’T happen. This is the case while Jesus is ministering as well.
Jesus ministers to a leaper, and all is normal… or as normal as they can be when you heal a leaper with a touch. Then along comes a Centurion, a solider, many of whom dislike and mistreat the Jewish people. Only this one is asking Jesus for help. Not only does Jesus help him, but Jesus then turns around and says that He has not seen such faith in all of Israel! Next we see people desiring to be His disciples, but then Jesus pushes them away. What kind of teacher doesn’t want students?
After a long day, Jesus and His disciples head out in a boat and cross the sea. Suddenly a tempest strikes and it looks like they will all drown. When His disciples wake Him to help with the boat, He rebukes them. Then He rebukes the storm and it immediately stops!
They all reach the other side only to run into a pair of men who are demon possessed and who have been driving people out of the region. They free them from the demons only to be driven out of the region by the rest of the people BECAUSE they freed these men from being held captive by demons! (I have my own theories as to why they kicked them out, but i’m not going to say them here and now.)
When you minister day by day directly with people, these are the kinds of unusual days and situations you are going to run into. If you are in the ministry, and your schedule is well defined and set. If you don’t have days where your plans and schedule are messed up by people, then i would wonder if you you are “ministering”, or if you are “doing the ministry”. If you are doing the ministry I would challenge you to consider what your call and purpose is.
Jesus did not sit in an office all day. He was hands on, and if we are to be like Him, we need to reconsider what it means to “minister” to the flock.
Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.