How did Jesus approach the crowd? He did not have the superstar mentality a lot of mega-church preachers today project. In the way Jesus did ministry, he did not stand above the rest, but he was with those who came to him. In Jesus, they found a person who was truly one of them.
Imagine what it must have been to be in the presence of the power that created all things and the love that can never be extinguished. It must be exhilarating. Yet, people felt that Jesus was one of them; they felt a connection with him. Nevertheless, Christ’s ministry on earth evoked hostility, as well as a large popular following. His presence and his message awakened humanity’s deep ambivalence about holiness. The authenticity of his priestly service gave power to his message and it was also what got him crucified. Jesus showed the people that one could encounter God in the midst of a profane life of the world, without the benefit of clergy.
This approach to ministry gives us a solid system for how we must be ministers in the 21st century. Instead of merely setting up programs, we must actually care about the people we set up these programs for. As believers, we must connect with the world. Jesus sent us into the marketplace to minister to the lost. What was his prayer to the Father?
15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. (John 17:15-19 NRSV)
As we analyze the passage from John 17, we see that the world is the marketplace. Jesus does not want to take us out of the marketplace. The Father sent Jesus to the marketplace; similarly, he sent his disciples into the marketplace. As Jesus’ disciples, we are to minister in the marketplace because it is where God intended us to be. We are called to be prophets in the marketplace, serving as God’s mouthpiece to society, because our main message for those in the marketplace is of God’s love and the gift of salvation, through Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 5:10, Paul explains that for believers to be completely disassociated with unbelievers, a Christian disciple should “go out of the world,” which is physically impossible. Thus, believers will have to live in the world, for that is to be the space by which their evangelical ministry will take place; however, they will God’s special grace to keep them from its evil influences.
Jesus is not just a mediator between God and us. He serves as the sacrifice—the lamb that was slain. Instead of sacred sacrifices of the temple, Jesus made his whole life an offering. He lived his life in the marketplace and offered it up for the service of others while he was living and while his death was offered as the source of humanity’s salvation.
4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body you have prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’
(in the scroll of the book it is written of me).” (Hebrews 10:4-7)
Christ’s life taught us that Christianity is not about rituals and traditions. Jesus’ actions imply that being a Christian is not about preserving a pure image. It is about doing God’s will for our life, which is to win people to Christ. It is about glorifying the name of the Lord. In reality, people will not pay attention to your message if they do not like what they see in your life. Moreover, people will not like what they see in your life if they do not really see your life. Therefore, your life is seen when you offer your life up for the benefit of others.
Jesus’ story also channels a very strong message about serving others. Volunteering in church 120 hours a month is not part of this message. God desires you to be in the marketplace, touching the lives of the people who have never felt what it’s like to be inside the halls of the church sanctuary. Analogously, when you want a huge catch, you don’t go to an aquarium; instead, you go to large bodies of water to fish. The marketplace is the ocean. It is where you go to in order to fish for men.
Don’t miss out on our LIVE conference call as we discover learn about being the Prophet in the Marketplace. Here are ways to join:
1) Call 515-604-9266
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How are you intentionally ministering to other people?