Equipped by the Spirit for Service
Sometimes when we think about Jesus’ ministry on earth and all the amazing things He did, we can easily assume that the reason He was able to do these things was because He is God. And of course, this is true; Jesus is God, fully divine as well as fully human. But if it’s because of His divinity that He was able to love extravagantly, perform wonders and reach out to His broken and hurting world, why did He command His disciples to do the same? Why did He say that we who believe in Him “will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these”? (John 14:12)
The picture the Scriptures paint for us is that during His time on earth, Jesus chose not to depend on His divinity to fulfil His ministry; rather, He humbled Himself by becoming one of us and chose to depend on the Holy Spirit to empower Him. Luke tells us that it was the Holy Spirit who prepared Jesus for His ministry and that following His testing in the wilderness, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit” to begin His ministry (Luke 4:14).
In doing this, Jesus set us an example to follow. Whatever the Lord calls us to do in service of Him, He doesn’t expect us to do alone or in our own strength. Jesus promised His disciples He’d send them the Holy Spirit after His ascension to teach and empower them and we see this promise fulfilled at Pentecost. The same Holy Spirit who empowered Jesus’ ministry has been given to each of us in His Church to equip and empower us as we follow Jesus and serve Him.
We see the Spirit’s empowering through the different gifts He gives to each of us who follows Jesus. Just as each part of a body has a different function but is part of the whole, so each of us in Christ’s Body is given different passions and callings by God and is given different spiritual gifts by the Spirit to equip us for these callings.
We at Rope see this all the time in our partners and their ministries. Our partners running children’s homes, for instance, are blessed with a mothering or fathering heart to love each child in their care. Our partners in Bolivia and DRC who work with prostituted women are blessed with amazing evangelistic and entrepreneurial gifts to share the good news and love of Jesus with the women and help them enter dignified employment. These and every single one of our partners are uniquely placed and gifted to reach those the Lord has put on their hearts.
What about you? What’s your calling—what has the Lord placed on your heart to do for Him—and what gifts has He given you to do this? Let’s seek to work together as the Body of Christ, valuing and using each gift the Spirit has given us, and let’s pray that we would keep being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), so we might fulfil Jesus’ call to make disciples of all nations.