The Multitude The Master And The Method
No one taught the way Jesus taught. Jesus had a holistic ministry that met the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of people. He didn’t just preach. He identified, in a very intimate way, with our tribulations. He ministered to the very core and heart of our being. He helped us, without leaving us helpless. He corrected, without being overly critical. He restrained us, without leaving us bound. He rebuked us, without leaving us hopeless. He rendered our own vain attempts at redemption useless, without stripping us of our ultimate value and worth to Him. Jesus exemplified a balanced ministry, reinforced by both word and deed.
There are three things that stand out in this verse, which form the basis and serve as a model for anyone engaged in ministry centered around the theme of Lifting Him Up. Every believer who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives is a minister of reconciliation. Ministry is not limited to pastoring a church, or preaching, or teaching, or involvement in a leadership capacity in a local church. Ministry is what each believer is called to do. God has gifted His body to exercise their talents for the upbuilding of His kingdom. And the Master has not left us without a method to reach the multitude.
This verse provides the foundation on which to build an effective, life-changing ministry in whatever capacity in which we happen to serve. Notice carefully the three actions Jesus executed as He “went out.” The text begins with “He saw a great multitude…” As we engage in ministry for the Master, what do we see? Jesus saw people and not problems. He saw a chance for exhortation and not exploitation. He saw a convenient opportunity to meet the needs of others. Again, when we engage in ministry, what do we see? Jesus saw a multitude who were hurting, helpless, and in need of a healing touch and a word of hope.
He not only saw the multitude, but He was “moved with compassion” by what He saw. As believers, are we moved by the needs of the multitude? Does our heart go out to the hurting and the hopeless? Experiencing a heart for the hurting and a genuine love for people is essential to effective ministry for the Master. And the multitude has a way of sensing authentic, genuine ministry when it happens. They may not be able to define it or articulate it, but they know it when it is experienced. They saw it in the life and ministry of Jesus. The question today is, Do they see it in you? Jesus didn’t just minister on a cerebral, intellectual, or rational level, He engaged His whole being in ministry. He ministered on an emotional level, as well. He “felt ” our pain. He was “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” and was “moved with compassion.” True ministry for the Master involves wholehearted service, with nothing held back. This is the method Jesus has laid out by His own example. Effective ministry for the Master involves seeing the multitude and being moved with compassion toward them.
But not only does effective, life-changing ministry involve the ability to see and feel the needs of the multitude, it also involves the sense of touch. It involves the ability to reach out, to touch, to heal in His name. Real ministry rallies all of the senses to action. We must see them, feel them, and touch them. The text says that “He healed their sick.” The Greek term “healed” is therapeuo, from which we get the transliterated English equivalent “therapy.” Jesus is the Great Physician and a Balm in Gilead and He knows how to minister to our every need. He has a therapeutic touch, a healing hand. What do people experience after we come in contact with them? How do they feel when we lift Him up ? Do they go away feeling better or bitter? Battered or believing? Assaulted or accepted? Victorious or vandalized? Consecrated or manipulated? Effective ministry manifests itself in transformed lives. It produces an eager multitude yearning for more of the life-giving power which flows from the hands of the Master.
Are we committed to seeing people the way Jesus sees them? Are we willing to extend a heart of compassion toward them? Are we willing to reach out, in His name, and through sacrificial service facilitate healing and restoration in their lives? May our prayer today be to follow the Master’s methods as we minister to the multitude
in His name.