In my last post, we saw Jesus explaining a little of John the Baptist’s ministry. Luke, the writer of this Gospel, has an interesting comment to make about this.
(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)
Some people might say that John had a very confrontational ministry. That type of preaching is not for everybody. However, it did have a positive effect.
There are times when pointed preaching is necessary. It caused some hidden things to be revealed. It showed that some of Israel who looked far from God – like tax-collectors and prostitutes – actually were soft-hearted toward God. That was evidenced by their willingness to be baptized.
There was another group of people, who on the outside, looked like they were close to God and wanted His best. But, by their rejection of the ministry of John, it was revealed that they had no desire to fulfill God’s will for their lives.
You may not like confrontational preachers. However, there is a place for them in God’s economy. They bring things to the surface that may have been hidden for years.
As a result of this, Jesus makes an observation of the generation that He’s ministering to.
“To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
This is the heart of the matter. Very few people like change. Both John the Baptist and Jesus were calling for Israel to turn around and come to God. They both met with resistance even though their ministries were vastly different.
John separated himself from the people, and they spoke evil of him. Jesus lived and formed relationships with the people. They complained about that as well.
I find that it’s the same in our generation. It seems that people, especially Christians, love to complain.
If a ministry is not doing much, they complain that they’re being lazy, not reaching the lost. If a ministry is bringing multitudes into the kingdom of God, they complain that they must be compromising.
As He talks about this, Jesus brings it to the bottom line. You know if someone is walking in godly wisdom by what is produced.
It’s all about the fruit of the ministry. Are lives being changed by the power of God? If they are, then that’s proof of a ministry submitted to the Lord.
It really is time for the body of Christ to stop all of its fault-finding with each other. We need to get down to the work Christ has called us to. We need to be making disciples of all nations. We must be proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If you don’t like the methods that some ministry or church is using, then stop accusing them and get on your knees to pray for them. More often than not, you’ll find that God changes your heart toward that ministry.
We need to get back to what we’re called to do. Jesus is coming soon, and the church must prepare herself. Be that believer who keeps themselves clean and strong in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Question: What’s your attitude toward other ministries that you observe around you?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi