This is Part 2 of 4 parts answering the question, “How do you minister during the suffering God allows?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 3-4 will be posted on succeeding days.
Follow Jesus’ Pattern of Ministry
The Lord Jesus left the glory of heaven and was born to an uneducated, common and poor couple – Joseph and Mary. He grew up in obscurity and never went to college, never wrote a book and never traveled more than 200 miles from where He was born. He even endured the most offensive trials as an innocent sacrifice for the sake of the human race. In the Lord Jesus, mercy and truth come together. There were several things that the Lord Jesus did to demonstrate His pattern of ministry (and these only begin to scratch the surface!)
First, the Lord Jesus prepared the disciples for the intensity of His suffering to come. He spent over three years living with these twelve men, teaching them the ways of His heavenly Father and allowing them to put into practice life principles. Then, before the final trial, His last supper was the crescendo of admonitions, when He said,
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3 NKJ)
And He called His believing disciples (not Judas) to continue to abide in Him so they would bear great fruit for the kingdom,
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-5 NKJ)
After He was crucified and resurrected, they remembered what He had taught them and upon receiving the Holy Spirit, they went about ministering – even though they themselves went through great persecution!
Second, the Lord Jesus ministered on the cross during His greatest suffering. After the physical tortures and brutality from the Roman soldiers, He was nailed to the cross and while hanging there, He interceded on behalf of His offenders, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34 NKJ) Then He continued to care for his mother,
When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” (John 19:26-27 NKJ)
His ultimate ministry was the completion of His salvation provision, which He proclaimed while on the cross, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) The Lord Jesus never became self-centered, even during His anguish – but instead gave Himself for the sake of others. He bore the penalty for the sins of the world, substituting Himself for sinners. He voluntarily took upon Himself what rightly deserved to fall upon us!
The Lord Jesus ministered through His suffering for the sake of others. Paul is another example of one who ministered during his sufferings.
Part 3 will be posted tomorrow.