I believe that Jesus is the example of how we should approach the ministry. We need to see how He prepared Himself for the days ahead of Him.
The Lord Jesus was God in the flesh; yes, but He limited Himself to operating as a man led by the Holy Spirit. Christ didn’t operate in a vacuum. He didn’t do anything that the Holy Spirit hadn’t shown Him. The next question that arises in my heart is this; how did He hear from the Spirit?
Obviously, the Lord didn’t just decide “on the fly” what He was going to do. He had to go to the Father first, and then see what was coming up in His ministry.
Only then was the Lord prepared for the work He was about to do that day or that week. If I can get a handle on this aspect of His ministry, then it can revolutionize mine. The fact is, the Scripture is clear as to how He saw the Holy Spirit working.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
Many times Jesus would leave a house to find a solitary place to pray. Most of the time, He would leave while it was still dark. I’m sure that He didn’t even tell anyone He was leaving. It must have been much later when the disciples started their search.
He was there alone in the presence of the Father – away from the crowds and the demands of the ministry. This is what Jesus felt He needed to do to clearly hear the voice of the Spirit.
How do I know this? It’s clear from the passage. When the disciples arrived, they were upset that they had to go looking for Him.
Notice that He ignored their statements. Instead, He simply said, “I know where we’re going next and what we’re going to do when we get there.” How did He suddenly know this? He heard from the Spirit.
So clear was the knowledge of the Father that many miracles were performed on the ministry trip they took. Even a leper with little faith was healed.
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
There are ministers today who would handle this situation very differently. If someone were to state, “If God wills,” they’d send him back to his seat until he could “believe God for his healing”. Instead, Christ healed the man regardless of his small faith. What made the difference? Jesus had, by the Spirit, seen the Father accomplish it already.
Do you need to know the next step in your life? If Jesus needed to seek God in that way, I assume that the same has to be true for us. We desperately need a Word from the Father to complete our task.
Find that solitary place today. Go before the Lord in the stillness that surrounds you and open up your soul to Him. Spend some time just listening for His still, small voice to your heart. Then answer the call in obedience to His will.
Question: Where is your solitary place?
© 2017 Nick Zaccardi