Patterning to a Jesus Template Part II

By: Dr. Clark Armstrong

Jesus’ teaching ministry primarily consisted of the use of parables. We should learn to use many stories and illustrations. He also taught the crowds or public groups such as the Pharisees with discourses. The book of Matthew can be outlined around five of these. His teaching of the disciples was peripatetic, that is, he taught as he walked around in life and ministry. He did this by word and by deed.

However, the greatest way that Jesus taught was by his example. On one occasion, he washed the disciple’s feet and instructed them to do as he had done. What he had said on the road about being a servant-leader was graphically reinforced by his living illustration.

Ultimately, his life of “kenosis” (self-emptying), which resulted in his death on the cross, was the model for pastoring in the Christlike way. It is the hardest part of the Jesus template to actually emulate. When you are wasted and worn out from your ministry, what joy is there in self-emptying? Well, there’s the greatest of all joys! In your kenosis, you identify with your Lord, your Chief Shepherd, and Sacrificial Lamb at one and the same time.

He was broken and spilled out, and all the strength of life was taken from Him for the love of the sheep (lost and found). You, too, become the communion yourself. The water of your suffering is turned into wine. The bread of your affliction is broken, and he will multiply the loaves of your offering. Weary pastor, when you are your most exhausted and feel like you are unloved or are dying—rejoice. The Jesus template is being stamped on your story. Hallelujah!

This brings us to Jesus’ healing ministry. Scripture says that He healed all that were brought to Him. Of course, he healed physically. In most cases, it was instantaneously. But in at least one case, it was gradual to show that sometimes that can be the case (Mark 8:22-25).

Still, his healing was not merely physical. He healed spiritually even as He forgave a man his sins (Mark 2:1-12) when his four friends brought him on a mat to Jesus. He also restored people psychologically and granted them a renewed and holistic self-esteem. Some examples include when He touched the lepers, healed the woman who had contacted the hem of His garment, withheld judgment upon the woman caught in adultery, or encountered the woman at the well.

Jesus could even break every power and hold that the devil had upon anyone. Acts 10:38 tells “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” There is no addiction, oppression, possession, depression, illness, or bondage that the name of Jesus will not impact. Jesus helped those who were helpless and hopeless like the crippled beggar lying beside the Pool of Siloam and the Gadarene man filled with the “Legion” of devils.

As pastors involved in bringing healing to peoples’ lives, we should remember that the power for healing comes from the Lord. “Salvation” in the Greek is also the same word as “healing” (tsotzo), and the Bible is clear that there is salvation or healing in no other name than Jesus (Acts 4:12). All we do as ministers is come alongside people and partner with Jesus to bring healing to their lives, their core selves, and possibly their bodies, their families, and their broken worlds.

Titus 3:8 says, “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” My desire is that this series of articles have been just that: excellent and profitable for everyone, but especially for pastors.

*This article is the final in a series highlighting pastoral ministry, and the continuation of Part I of “Patterning to a Jesus Template.”

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