Mark, the author of the second book of the life and ministry of Jesus in the New Testament notes something interesting. In verse 45 of chapter 1 he notes of the rise of Jesus’ popularity. The question we must ask ourselves is, what was His (Jesus) reaction?
In chapter 1 Jesus tells the leper that he was cleansed and was told “see that you say nothing to anyone but go show yourself to the priest and offer for yourself cleansing what Moses commanded for proof to them.” But the healed man didn’t do as Jesus instructed. Rather he “began to talk freely” about what was done to him. So the news of Jesus spread. (Note: His fame spread because of what He could do.) In chapter 1 Mark records Jesus receiving commendation from God the Father through the sending of the Holy Spirit that descends upon Him, He is tempted in wilderness, He calls His disciples, and then He teaches.
Along with teaching He casted out demons, and healed the sick. These signs were to confirm God was with Him thus confirming Jesus was God. The fame of Jesus “spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding area of Galilee”. It was hard for Him to get away until in verses 40-45. Here He performed a miracle that caused His fame to increase even more. The consquence of His popularity meant He had to flee to desolate places. The people still sought to find Him because they didn’t so much desire Him, but what He could do for them.
In many churches today people flee to the churches that can do the most for them. Whether it be through youth programs, concert style worship, short sermons, health coaching or motivational speaking. Or churches without accountability or any sort of membership structure so they can come as often as they want and serve minimal. You know just enough to be a surface level “Christian.”
But this isn’t the type of ministry Jesus set out as an example to us individually or for the church as a whole. His ministry was calling people out for their lack of understanding on who He was and why He came to be among His creation.
For Jesus it wasn’t so much about setting up an empire for the people of His day to make Him an earthly king. He was about His Fathers will and that was involved submission. Jesus was God and deserved to be all about Himself. He could have removed Herod from his throne. He could have kept with His teaching and healing ministry so that people would just follow Him by the gen thousands. But He set all of that aside. More so He set His position in Heaven aside like we read in Philippians 2:8-9 and “humbled Himself to the point of death.” He took upon Himself the iniquity of His elect. Jesus modeled a ministry that was about His Fathers plan. Which was to reconcile man to God offering Himself as the only sacrifice acceptable to God the Father in the place of every man who repents and believes on the Lord. How much does our ministry look like Christs? Do we point to ourselves while trying to build up our own empire or kingdom? Or do we like Jesus submit to the will of the Father to the point of speaking truth even if others leave?
Some more questions that we need to ponder on carefully is what does this exemplify to pastors in their ministries? How does Jesus react to the people coming to Him? Why doesn’t Jesus soak in all the publicity? Does He care that the people leave Him? Do churches today operate the way the ministry of Jesus did?
Are you apart of a church that acts as if the church is more of a business than a ministry?
Jesus flips church marketing tactic advisers and church growth gurus on their head.