What are the characteristics of Jesus’ ministry?
1. It was by the Spirit.
Jesus did nothing outside the realm of the Holy Spirit. I believe that what Philippians 2 means when it says that “he emptied himself”. He had the power to create the universe but when he came to earth he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The three persons of the trinity became interwoven in the ministry of Jesus. The Holy Spirit was there in creation but under the authority of the Word of the Son. Here he submits himself to the Father and to the Holy Spirit;
John 5 v. 19
Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees the father doing, because whatever the father does the son also does.”
If Jesus did it that way do you think it should be any different for the rest of us? If so, we need to be filled and anointed in the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. It was to destroy the devil’s work.
This anointing was directed entirely towards the powers of darkness. Jesus went around not only doing good but corrupting the kingdom of darkness. We often forget that satan’s kingdom is not like the kingdom of light – it is in confusion. Jesus’ breaking through in the power of the kingdom of God must have caused havoc for the devil. The very climax of Jesus’ encounters with the devil was at the cross. Jesus was committed to destroying the kingdom and work of darkness;
1 John 3 v. 8
The reason the son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
The Greek word used there means “to obliterate, to dismember so it can never be put together again”. God destroys the kingdom of darkness, but he restores the people who have been smashed up when he comes in restoration power. When the Holy Spirit’s power strikes, he undoes the works of the devil, which must really annoy him! People tell me that I should not say nasty things about the devil because we are not to judge, but that is rubbish and out of context. The devil has already been judged and condemned. I cannot add to that, but I can make his life here more miserable!
3. It was for freedom.
In the freedom and liberty of God one saint has more power in his heart than the devil has in his kingdom – what an awesome thought. We say that Paul does not talk about the demonic, but in the letters to the Galatians and Colossians he asks them why they are submitting themselves to these “weak and miserable principles”, that is the direct translation of the Greek he uses to describe these demonic beings. He says that they have the person, Jesus, and the power to come against the devil.
4. It was for salvation.
The anointing of the Spirit is not just a negative work, it is a positive work. It does not just come and clear out, it comes and puts something in. It is adding things in. We are ministers of the New Covenant to bring people into a new relationship and a new inheritance because a covenant is not just a legal document as far as God is concerned, it brings us into that new relationship and inheritance.
When people came to Jesus with their needs they always got more than they bargained for. The woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of his garment and not only were her needs met, but she was thrilled with the power of the kingdom of God. She must have been amazed at the bonus she received. She wanted to be healed of a sickness and met the power of God! That is why I am against “healing services” where the only aim is to get people healed. Our aim is not just to get people healed but to put them in touch with the power of the kingdom of God. When Jesus touched, healed or delivered people it was the entry point into something magnificent, not just into a blessing. The issue is not whether you want healed, but why you want healed. When the man at the pool of Bethesda was healed it set him on a new track in obedient discipleship. Some people turn up again and again for healing, and it is their significance that is their sickness.
Our inheritance is in Jesus Christ and our salvation. When Jesus was with him Zacchaeus he found that in the power of the Holy Spirit he had friends when all his life he tried unsuccessfully to buy them. You cannot buy real fellowship in any way because it belongs to God and is to be lived in in the unity of the Holy Spirit in the bond of peace. Jesus said;
Luke 19 v. 9
Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost.
5. It was in Power.
It was in the Holy Spirit and so it is bound to be in power.
John 1 v. 11-12 (K.J.V.)
He came unto his own and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
In some versions the word here translated as “power” is translated as “authority”. Authority and power are the two most frequently occurring words relative to Jesus in the Gospels. The Greek words are “Exousia”, the power or right to be, authority, and “Dunamis”, the power to do. In the scripture above Jesus gives “Exousia” (authority).
Acts 1 v. 8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
You will receive “Dunamis”, the power to do it.
Luke 4 v. 22
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
They wondered with what authority he spoke and did these things. He could do no mighty deed here in Capernaum because of their unbelief. The words that relate to Jesus relate to us because they are the language of Holy Spirit anointing, and that which is going to be true of Jesus is going to be true of us because he is the same Holy Spirit. The only difference is in measure.
6. It was by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus operated through the manifestation of the gifts
1 Corinthians 12 v. 8-11
To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
There are many examples of Jesus using a gift of knowledge: the woman at the well; the colt tied at the side of the road; Nathaniel. There was something amazing about these because they were so real, specific and practical. There is a practical side to the wisdom and knowledge of God. When I was first baptised in the Holy Spirit I found it amazing that God knew things – it was a revelation and God began to show me things and to say things. There has been a lot of rubbish around, but as St. Augustine once said;
“The answer to abuse is not non-use, but proper use.”
They tried to catch Jesus out with the woman taken in adultery (John 8 v. 1-11). They told him what the law said in black and white, and it said to stone her. The truth of the matter was that stoning was actually a dead practice, but they were trying to get Jesus into a “Catch 22” situation. Jesus got a gift of wisdom and that released him from the situation and the anointing did the two things it always does;
1.It attracted – the woman was healed, forgiven, cured and restored.
2.It repelled – the pharisees vanished.
The anointing will never leave you passive – it always attracts or repels people.
We need the gift of wisdom. Many people are trapped by satan in ministry by very spiritual-sounding things. What the Pharisees said sounded quite logical according to their religious Law, but Jesus went straight through the middle. On another occasion they criticised the disciples for eating corn on the Sabbath, but Jesus tied them in knots by quoting their own scriptures to them.
Jesus used discernment when the woman with the issue of blood touched him. He felt power go out from him and said “Who touched me?”. In Luke 13 the crippled woman is healed on the sabbath and the Pharisees criticised Jesus so he looked right at them, knowing what was in them, and told them that they were hypocrites.Jesus knew that Judas sitting at the table would betray him. Jesus discerns the spirit, healing, motive and everything else.
Mark 9 v. 29
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
Jesus was in a class of his own. It is as if there were different principles in operation, but what we are actually seeing is the release of the anointing of the Spirit in its multifarious gifts.
In the case of Lazarus, Jesus moved in a gift of faith. Jesus wept not out of a lack of faith, but because of the agony of seeing his world under death.
Romans 5 v. 12
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.
What he saw in his friend Lazarus was only a token of what was in everybody.
John 11 v. 43
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”. The dead man came out.
Jesus lifts his eyes up to heaven full of faith, believing in the Father. This is anointed language here, and it has to get into our spirit.
John 14 v. 12
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
We may not be into the resurrection of the dead, but we can certainly trust the Lord to provide for us and we will get there! Jesus believed and it happened.
Hebrews 11 v. 6
Without faith it is impossible to please God, for anyone that comes to him must believe that he exists and that the rewards those who earnestly seek him.
There are so many examples of Jesus using the gifts of healing that we may as well not start, but you could begin with the man with the withered hand in Mark 3. Jesus told him to stretch it out. Or the man born blind who was healed on the Sabbath, again infuriating the Pharisees. The centurion’s servant was not even where Jesus was, but he was healed.
Matthew 8 v. 8
The centurion replied,”Lord I do not deserve for you to come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
Well, Jesus said the word and it happened, the servant was healed. Notice that 1 Corinthians talks of gifts of healing. The anointing of the Holy Spirit has to be manifested in so many ways.
Jesus did miracles when he turned water into wine. There was the example of Peter’s handkerchief or his shadow. There is a difference between miracles and healing; a miracle is what made the world in the first place – something made out of nothing, that goes against all natural laws or laws of physics.
People misunderstand this. It is a sign of the end of the age and what happened is that the early Church remembered the words of Jesus as written in the Gospels. That is the absolute truth. He told about the fall of Jerusalem and history tells us that not one believer perished at that time because they listened to the words of Jesus and they fled into the desert. He was prophetic about Judas and Peter.
The Ministry of Jesus;
1. It was by the Spirit.
2. It was to the poor.
3. It was against satan.
4. It was for salvation.
5. It was in power.
6. It was by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.