Summary: The focus of the Holy Spirit is a ministry that accents the Jesus-factor in our daily life.
Ministry is a very common topic among us who are Christians. We talk about it and believe that we are doing ministry for the Lord. Yet, very few people understand the dynamics involved in spiritual ministry.
It is not like doing a job out in the world, although we have somehow made it like that. What qualifies you in the workplace does not qualify you in a place of ministry.
A young person will spend many years in college and university and come out with some very impressive degrees and yet may not find the job they were preparing for.
Perhaps their father was a doctor and so they quite naturally started in that direction for themselves. Or maybe their father was a lawyer or their mother was a lawyer and they set sights in that direction. Nothing wrong with that.
That, however, is not the way spiritual ministry goes. Judging our spiritual ministry by the standards of the world is to completely misunderstand the ministry God has called us to do.
The key element in spiritual ministry, which is often overlooked, is the Holy Spirit. A person can have all the education they can afford. Rack up as many degrees as they humanly can handle and still not be prepared to do the work of the ministry.
Then, some country bumpkin fresh from the cornfields begins a ministry and God blesses that ministry in ways that are inconceivable to the average person.
It is what the apostle Paul says,
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).
Ministry is not to glorify man, rather it is to glorify God. God is never glorified through the flesh and yet we offer the flesh to God for His approval.
As Jesus begins His ministry, we see the involvement of the Holy Spirit in His ministry.
The focus of the Holy Spirit is a ministry that accents the Jesus-Factor in our daily life. Anything that gets in the way of this, the Holy Spirit will rebuke as only He can.
There are three aspects in Jesus ministry that involves the Holy Spirit.
I. The Preparation of His Ministry
It is interesting to see how carefully Jesus is being prepared for His ministry. Not only His public ministry to the people, but also His ministry on the cross. Always remember that in the background is the shadow of the cross. Everything Jesus does focuses on the cross.
The Holy Spirit is faithful in preparing Jesus for a work that He was sent to this world to do.
First, John the Baptist acknowledges Him.
This ties Jesus in with the Old Testament and the prophecies of the Old Testament. John is pointing to Jesus and saying, “This is the man.”
Second, was His baptism.
This is the affirmation from the Father.
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22).
This affirms that Jesus is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. With God’s approval upon His life and ministry, what more does He need.
Third, was the temptation in the wilderness.
This sets the tone for His ministry and prepares Him for the spiritual challenge that lies before Him. The key phrase is, “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13).
The threefold temptation found in the wilderness will not only follow Jesus to the cross but is a contention for us today as believers.
In all of this, the Holy Spirit is guiding and directing the life and ministry of Jesus.
The more important the ministry, the more intense the preparation. I am not quite sure we appreciate the intensity of Jesus’ preparation. Suffice it to say, His preparation was in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is not entering into the ministry on His own, or on His own authority. Behind Him is the absolute authority of the Holy Spirit.
II. The Presentation of His Ministry
“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all” (Luke 4:14-15).
The presentation of Jesus’ ministry is rather important. He did not begin His ministry on His own initiative. He is not moving forward on His passion.
We talk a lot about passion, and I think it is important that we have passion. But passion will not get us through the tough times. Passion is a human emotion that can fluctuate up or down. The basis of Jesus’ ministry is the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. The power of the Holy Spirit is a constant in the life and ministry of Jesus. It is never at one point stronger than another point nor is it weaker at one point than another point.