x482.......Jesus Saves---Jesus Heals---Jesus Delivers---JESUS RELEASES!
17* And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18* The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, (Luke 4: 17-18)
In Luke chapter 4, Jesus declares His mission in the earth--He declares His ministry--His ministry for that day and age--and for today as well.
Heb 13:8* Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Jesus spoke those words 2,000 years ago, and He lived out those words in His ministry which is recorded in the Bible. He preached the Gospel--He healed the sick--He brought deliverance to those who had need--He fed the poor---and He did one more thing--He made apostles.
"to set at liberty them that are bruised,"
The words in this verse which are translated in English as "set at liberty" are the Greek words "apostello" and freedom. When this word refers to individuals it is the Greek "apostellos" which the translators chose to define as "apostles". The meaning of this word is to send or to release--in this case, it refers to the release of a person to serve God. The releasing of apostles was quite obviously central to the ministry of Jesus. Jesus went to every part og Israel and released individuals and whole groups of people to serve God--to spread the Gospel--heal the sick and bring deliverance--to do His same ministry and carry it on in the earth after He was gone.
It is not often recognized or taught that Jesus released so many to serve God. We read about the "official" apostles but what we don't realize is that this word "apostello" is used many many times in the New Testament--very often translated as the simple word "sent". We recognize that there were 12 numbered apostles--but there were also 70 that were numbered at a different time in Jesus ministry. But also, for example, when we read of the feeding of the 5,000--Jesus spoke of "sending away" the crowds. He was not just telling the people to "go home--the show is over"--the Greek used here is "apoulo" a root of the word apostello--which also means to release. Releasing those who had been healed and delivered and fed and preached the Gospel was central to Jesus ministry. In the book of John, He baptized the blind man into the "pool of Siloam" (Siloam in Greek is "apostello")--just exactly what He said He would do in Luke 4--
"......and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised...."
Jesus releases the demoniac of the Gadarenes, (Mark 5) telling him simply to go and tell what great thing God has done for him--and the Bible records that this formerly demon possessed man goes to 10 cities and preaches about Jesus. The Gentile woman at the well is released also by Jesus. Again we see the simple order of His ministry--explain the Gospel--heal and deliver---and the final step is to release the person to freely serve God--now that they are saved--healed and delivered.
And if we believe that Jesus only did these things during His life on the earth before His resurrection--consider the conversion of Saul (Paul)--Sauls' conversion follows exactly the same pattern--He (the enemy of the church) meets Jesus--is immediately saved (he calls Jesus "Lord" when he sees Him)--Saul is then healed of his blindness --by Annanias--a simple disciple at Damascus--he is immediately baptized and receives the Holy Spirit--and the Bible records--
19* And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20* And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. (Acts 9: 19-20)
Again--the very same pattern of Jesus' ministry--salvation--healing--release to serve God freely.
Heb 13:8* Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
The fact is that Jesus is doing His same ministry today as well. When someone meets Jesus today--by faith--they receive the free gift of salvation--they are often healed and delivered (how many have been delivered from drugs and alcohol at the moment of conversion!)---and whether we realize it or not, they are released by Jesus to freely serve God. to tell others about what great things the Lord has done for them--to witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others----but then they go to church!
The goal of our churches is to see people saved--and healed and delivered--and become church goers--made into a tithe--paying, permanent "sheep" under the authority of a pastor or leaders who exercises authority over them (specifically NOT the system which Jesus said to use amongst ourselves!!).
We see the new covert--who is, as we say, "hot for the Lord"--and we cool them down by degrees with our half- quotes from the Bible and our wrong church system. The fact is that our churches have many of Jesus" goals --but we limit ministry--we choose to operate the church by putting authority in the hands of people instead of God--and therefore we do not have the fullness of what Jesus demonstrated to us in His life and ministry as well as the church which is shown to us in the New Testament Bible--which is supposed to act as our example of what the church should function and look like and be built upon.
Jesus is trying to do His same ministry in the earth today--but we have a huge hindrance to His move--our misconception of what "church" is.
Perhps if we could just start from square one, and open our eyes--and se how incredibly simple it would be to build a church upon the pure new covenant Bible principles. How glorious it could be---if we could just put ourselves in that direction---fully!
-----------------------History---knowledge that we lack!
With this understanding of what Jesus' ministry is and was, let's go back in time and see if we can understand His problems in the past when the organization called the church was different than it is today.
If we lived 1,000 years ago, and we attended church--we would find that there was one universal church in the world--this church had enormous political power and control--the kings of the earth had to submit to the authority of the church--as well as the common people. Literally everyone was a Christian--it was nearly illegal to be anything else--it was nearly illegal to miss church on Sundays--or not pay your tithe. Sound great--right?--Well this period of time was called the dark ages--and it certainly was dark and backward. it was an age that was all about limiting the power of people--through the control and authority of leadership--much of which was exercised through the organization called the church. The church owned nearly everything and disallowed the common people from owning things.
If you went to this church and said that you were saved by faith in Jesus--they would probably burn you at the stake--or torture you or at least kick you out of the country and call you a heretic. In this day and age they believed that you purchased your soul into purgatory by putting your money into the offering plate--and that if you strictly obeyed the authority of the leadership of the church (which included sending you to war--owning the land that you farmed and controling nearly every aspect of your life) you might "attain to the resurrection of the dead" The church firmly believed in what is know as "soul death"--they did not recognize the living spirit which is in man--certainly not the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit--and as we can see-they did not believe that salvation was through faith in Jesus as Lord--simply because they wanted you to call them "lord". The church, for most of the last 1700 years, has been all about the rulership of man over man. It permeated and in fact created the format of church--all about the rule of the "clergy" (a medieval word which means "someone who can read"--the local clergyman was most likely the only person who could read--so he had the sole right to read and teach within the church---does "clergy" still have this same connotation today?)
Now, lets' consider Jesus" ministry. the very first part which is to bring the Gospel. How could His ministry operate in the church, when the church preached the wrong type of salvation? When the church preached the Gospel of works and not by faith in grace? Remember--in the Bible, Jesus Himself was hindered in only one place--His own home town--where peopledid not beleive in Him (lack of faith!)--when people did not have faith, the Bible tells us that He could not perform many miracles. If we do not beleive--we hinder God--yes we do!
Thank God that about 500 years ago, the common people began to be able to read the Bible--and find the truth about salvation. But, even though this happened--many many of the same incorrect ideas of church operation and ministry and authority remained in the church--and in fact they remain in the church to this day--as a hindrance to Jesus ministry operation.
We can see this when we look at other churches. There are many Christian churches which do believe in salvation through grace--yet, they cling to the concept that healing was something which was for the "previous dispensation of the ages'
(this concept befuddles me! many of these churches do almost everything else that is demonstrated for us in the Bible. they do a wonderful job of feeding the poor and helping those in need. Catholic churches and evangelical churches do wonderful things in these areas--why should they? The reason they do this is because Jesus and the church of the Bible lived it out--demonstrated that feeding the poor and helping those in need are Godly ministries. Why then is healing and the gifts of the Holy Spirit NOT for today?)
When we see a church which does not believe that God heals today, again we see the limitation of the ministry of Jesus in the earth. He has a hard time operating where there is no faith for something--even when he was alive as a man in the earth, it was necessary for those he met to have faith in order to be made whole. If a church has no faith in healing, then healing will not happen--or at least it makes it very difficult for Jesus to heal in that place.
Another way to look at it is that the authority of Jesus says that He can heal--but the authority of the church leadership says that Jesus does not heal. Since we have the incorrect kind of authority in the church--it stands against the authority of Christ--as Jesus said--a man cannot serve 2 masters--we will always prefer one over another--and earthly authority within the church can easily stand in the way of Gods operation--it can hinder the operation of Jesus" ministry.
But the final part of Jesus' ministry--that of "apostello"--that of sending and releasing people to freely serve God--is really not very encouraged within most of our churches--at least not so long as we cling to the wrong--"dark ages" ideas that say that the church is a place of rulership and authority one over another. This single concept hinders the gifts of ministry from operating within all the church--as the Bible clearly describes. It also hinders the release that Jesus brings when a person is saved, with all the rules--the "system" the "ranks" which someone must "worked there way through"--the concept that a person has to "pay their dues" (simony?!--in our churches today?!--how about the concept that tithe paying is a prerequisite to ministry!!). All the rules we speak (someone needs to be "mature in the Lord"--before they can minister--tell that to Paul!!) all these can hinder the ministry of Jesus that He would like to perform today--in our churches and out to the world.