Learning from Jesus
When Jesus said: "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19), He was not inviting His followers to simply look at Him in awe at what He could do. But rather, the goal of Jesus was to model, to demonstrate, and to release His followers to do what He did. Jesus was establishing His Church body--His hands, His feet, His mouth, His eyes, etc.--to go and do His works. Thus, when we read about the works of Jesus in the Bible, we ought to read with a goal toward learning to minister like Jesus did.
I challenge you to sit down and read through the Gospels, and ask yourself, how did Jesus love? He did Jesus show compassion? How did Jesus heal the sick? How did Jesus drive out demons? How did Jesus bring the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth? And what did Jesus teach about these things?
I want to suggest that much of the church has lost sight of how to minister like Jesus did. We have our own models that we have developed for praying for the sick--and these models usually involve simply asking our Heavenly Father. It is okay to ask our Heavenly Father, and sometimes He will just sovereignly respond with His touch, but the approach that Jesus used--in dealing with sickness--was more effective. His approach was to listen to the Heavenly Father, (knowing the Father's heart is essential, so if you don't know, ask Him) and do what the Heavenly Father told Him to do, and then to release the power of Heaven through command and often touch.
Jesus' disciples learned this well. When they encountered a lame beggar at the gate of the temple called beautiful, they did not use our common approach of asking the man: "Can I pray for you?": "Our Father, I ask you to heal this lame beggar in Jesus' Name." That was not their approach. Rather, they sensed the heart of God for the moment, understood their authority in Jesus Christ, and gave the command:
Acts 3:4-8 (NASB): 4 But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, "Look at us!" 5 And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene -walk!" 7 And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
I do not believe this healing took place because Peter and John were apostles, but rather because they had paid attention to what Jesus taught them about how to minister to the sick, and how to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. They understood the authority that we have all been given as children of the King of kings and Lord of lords. They had learned well how to make Fishers of Men-- by releasing the power of God's kingdom to heal, people were drawn to Jesus as a result:
Acts 3:9-10: 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God; 10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
I like the approach and results of Jesus much better than the approach that many of us have used in the past. I am ready to learn to make fishers of men in the way Jesus demonstrated--through the proclamation of the Gospel and the demonstration of God's Kingdom power backing up His Gospel.
How about you? Will you read the stories of Jesus as you might read a history book? Or, are you ready to read the stories of Jesus as an example of how God is calling all Christians to live and minister--including you? Jesus knows best how to catch the men. I want to learn from Him.
Blessings to you in Christ Jesus,