THAT JESUS of Nazareth is the Minister par excellence is a fact. A definite article, “the,” is used to describe the common noun, “Minister”, indicating the matchlessness of Christ's superiority in terms of His servanthood.
Actually, Jesus must be the best kind of a Minister without peer, considering who is and the purpose of His incarnation. He was with the Father before the world existed (John 17:5), “He is the image of the invincible God…For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth…all things were created through him and for him.
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:15-18). If Jesus is the Creator Son of God, conceived by the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit without inheriting the Adamic sin, then, He must be unique.
If Jesus, the Word of God, became flesh and dwelt among men, but before He began His public ministry He had emptied Himself by taking the form of a servant with matchless humility and received measureless anointing, then, He must be the Minister par excellence.
Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and others came as ministers, but none of them measures up to the pre-eminence of Jesus, the Christ. Every minister of God sinned but Jesus never sinned having loved righteousness and hated iniquity.
Robert E. Coleman affirmed this observation about Christ when he wrote, “He never made a mistake. Though partaking of our life, and being tempted in all points as we are, He was not bound by the limitations of the flesh which He accepted for our sake. Even when He chose not to exercise His divine omniscience, His mind was clear. He always knew was right, and as the perfect Man, He lived as God would live among humans”, (The Master Plan of Evangelism, 1993).
In fact, Jesus as described above can only be the Minister par excellence. Now, the word minister means servant. Thus Jesus as a Minister came to serve as the High Priest. “He submitted His own life to sacrificial service under the will of God (Luke 22:42), and He sacrificed His life freely out of service for others (John 10:30).
He came to serve (Matthew 20:28) although He was God's Son and was thus more powerful than any other leader in the world”. Indeed, Christ served God the Father and humanity, performing mediatorial roles between divinity and humanity.
As Professor Emmanuel Asante rightly points out, “He stands in the gap between humanity and God, ministering to the Father for the sake of humanity and ministering to humanity 'by taking sinners to himself and binding them graciously into his own Sonship to the Father”, (The Call To Serve: A Theological Reflection on Ministry, 2002).
Jesus Christ was sinless and yet He was made to be sin so that in him believers might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:19). This was accomplished through the shedding of His blood for humanity. This is the Father's will which He came to do.
The uniqueness of Jesus' ministry to God the Father and humanity is typified by His willful and voluntary surrender of Himself to be crucified for the redemption of all those who place their faith in Him. In His ministry, He never condemned anyone knowing that He came to seek and save the lost, and He came not to call the righteous, but the sinner.
Thus, He sat and ate with sinners without feeling ashamed. Interestingly, Jesus' ministry was not limited to dying for the world and being raised from the dead. As Coleman has pointed out, Jesus' “concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow”.
Consequently, He chose or selected men among His multitudes of disciples and trained them to continue with His ministry. He taught, cautioned, commended, promised and gave assurances without saying, “Thus says the Lord, but He often said, “I say to you” proving His authority and power in juxtaposition to the teachings of the prophets and the teachers of the Law.
He received no privileged Jewish Rabbinical college education, yet He had deepest understanding and taught with authority and spoke the way no man could, an art which some Jewish officers could not hide their admiration for but praise it. They said, “No man ever spoke like this man (John 7:46)!
Laszlo Gallusz has noted that “While in recent decades gospel studies have devoted significant attention to comparing Jesus with Cynic teachers and charismatic itinerant preaching figures, the differences are stronger than the similarities”.
He continues, “the category of teachers that comes closer to the picture of Jesus presented in the Gospels is that of the Jewish rabbis.
However, in spite of a number of similarities with first-century rabbis, the differences are so fundamental that Jesus could rightly be considered radically different in His teaching style and content”.
To be continued
By James Quansah