In today’s teaching, let’s take time to focus on the Kingship of Jesus Christ. The Kings David, Saul and Solomon were all gifted and enabled by the Holy Spirit to supernaturally rule God’s people. Jesus, the eternal King, did not manifest his kingdom rule and authority on earth until he too was empowered by the Holy Spirit at his baptism.
Throughout the world, Jesus is known by the title Christ. This comes from the Greek word Christos, which means “anointed’ and is exactly the same as the Hebrews word Messiah. He is “the Anointed One’.
Jesus claimed to be anointed in Luke 4:18 -21; and Peter recognised Jesus as the Christ, the Anointed in Mark 8:29 and Acts 10:38. It is clear from these verses that the anointing is the Holy Spirit and that it is for service.
In the Old Testament, prophets, priests and kings and holy objects were anointed with holy oil as an act of consecration to God and in dedication for serving God. In the New Testament, the symbolic anointing with oil was transformed into the reality of anointing with the Holy Spirit. The anointing still consecrates the person to God and dedicates them for service, but then it goes much further. It actually equips them with the power that they need to perform their God-given task of service.
The Mighty King
Jesus’ ministry seems to have had several great themes or purposes. Firstly, he came to break the power of evil and death. The fallen angel Lucifer had taken authority on earth and the whole world was under his sway.
In his ministry in the power of the Spirit, Jesus established the kingdom of heaven and disarmed the evil powers of darkness. He preached a gospel of repentance, taught his followers about judgment and the consequences of disobedience. He gave them clear guidelines for behaviour.
In short, the Gospels show us that Jesus was a might king who was concerned to found a kingdom. He ruled over nature. He ruled over distance. He ruled over demons. Lepers were healed. The dead were revived. Devils feared. Storms obeyed. But God’s people of Israel would not receive their king.
There are only two ways to respond to the king: with obedience or rejection. Jesus still calls people: “Follow me’. Some obey without question. Many reject him. Others try to negotiate easier conditions. If Jesus is our model ministry, it means that something of kingly power and authority should be seen in us. We will confront evil powers. We will be face to face with disease. We will preach a message of repentance, judgment and obedience. We will remind people of Jesus’ clear commands and the kingdom behaviour he expects.
But remember, we will only be able to share his royal effectiveness when we share his Holy Spirit anointing! We will only be able to be his feet and hands on earth when we are filled and empowered with the Holy Spirit as he was.
The Suffering Servant
A second great theme of Jesus’ ministry was to seek and to save the lost. Jesus came to save lost, needy people who were powerless to save themselves. At great personal sacrifice, he came to make atonement for the sins of humanity, to act as a substitute for every man, woman and child, and to bear God’s wrath against sin.
Through his life and ministry, Jesus showed himself to be the suffering servant of God who comes to serve and to offer himself as a sacrifice. Jesus was at the beck and call of the crowds. He responded to needs immediately. He worked unobtrusively and asked people to tell nobody about their miracle. He served unseen and was ready to serve unthanked.
Jesus’ motive for ministry was compassion and love. His life was full of prayer. He made it clear that he had come “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45). He called others not only to follow him but also “to take up the cross’ (Mark 10:21). The whole of Jesus’ earthly ministry was coloured by the cross. It is impossible for us to separate Jesus’ signs and wonders ministry from his supreme sacrifice, from the absolute suffering and terrible rejection that he endured.
All this means that, when we model our lives and ministries on Christ, we will willingly embrace service, sacrifice and suffering. Passages like Philippians 2:5-8 will come alive when we realise that we follow God’s humble suffering servant.