Knowing When to Leave
November 24, 2020
But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all, and warned them not to tell who He was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel, nor cry out; nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory. And in His name the gentiles will hope" (Matthew 12:15-21).
Jesus was never forced to interrupt His ministry by the interference of the elders of Israel. His was always a voluntary leave of absence. He was not bound by the agenda of the Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees, or the public. He was bound by His Father’s agenda. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me (John 6:38). We would do well to follow our Lord’s example in our ministries as well.
The same is to be said for His unwillingness to be popularized for His ministry. Jesus maintained balance in His ministry. Everything was done from a divine perspective, not from a human perspective. Miracles validated the messenger and his message. That was true of the Old Testament Prophets, that was true of Jesus, and that was true of the Apostles. Miracles were not an end in themselves. They were performed to awaken the spirit to the higher things of God and His Kingdom. But this was not the thinking of the elders of Israel, nor for the multitudes that followed Him, and it’s not for many Christians today.
We live in a day when ministers desire, and ministries are designed, to be popular and prosperous. The more visible a person is on book covers, television, conferences, etc., the more likely their ministries will benefit financially. This is not to be critical of legitimate ministers and ministries, but there are very few of those around today. It seems the airwaves and bookshelves are flooded with charlatans and get rich con artists who use religion as a vehicle to line their pockets. You know who they are. I don’t need to name names.
Jesus did not come to us, nor did He preach, teach, and heal in order to become a superstar (despite the 1973 movie). He came to seek and to save the lost. Many modern day ‘ministers’ have made His kingdom their kingdom and have become their own ‘superstars’. Have we forgotten what the Christian Gospel is really all about?
“Lord Jesus, forgive us for taking Your story and Your Gospel and making a mockery out of them both. Your life and ministry were ordered by the plan of the Father, and You carried out that plan perfectly. Keep us focused on You and Your Kingdom’s work. May Your Holy Spirit control our ministry and not the other way around. In all things we do here, may You receive the honor and glory that is rightfully Yours. Amen.”