Jesus’ Ministry was arguably the most powerful ministry of all time yet He was met with a load of criticism even to the point of being put to death after accusations from his own people. The Pharisees were the ministers of their time and held to the highest regard. They preached in the synagogues and spoke in their communities rebuking those who were less than and doing everything they could to make sure they themselves were sinless. To them, that was what service was about. Living a perfect life and letting others know when they were slacking.
Enter Jesus. He came through and basically abandoned their way of ministering to people through cold facts and condemnation. Instead He served the people by forming true connections with them. You could tell Jesus was genuinely interested in getting to know people, meeting their current needs and changing their lives.
This confused the Pharisees to see someone who claimed to have deep knowledge and understanding of the scripture hang around with former prostitutes, tax collectors and other rejected members of society. This is why they always kept questioning His credibility and wanted to test Him on things. How dare you claim to be the Son of God yet you’re here connecting with peasants. I think it’s safe to say the Pharisees got it wrong. They thought God discriminated on who he connects with. He doesn’t.
Jesus came to earth to give an example of what true leadership and true ministry looks like. It’s service and putting others’ needs first, however, there is a deeper tasks for all leaders which is to connect with the people they are leading. Even if you aren’t leading and just sharing Jesus. Someone who you preach to will not be touched by the word in the same way as someone you have connected to first.
All that being said, connection is rather easy when it’s nice people, people in need, strangers who mean us no harm and just need the love of God. We can easily connect with and serve them as Christ intended. The hard part is connecting with the Pharisees in our lives. Connecting with the people who persecute us for believing in God and connecting with those who want to take advantage of our attitude of service.
In Acts we see Saul being converted from a Christian hunting killer to a disciple (Paul) through his experience on the way to Damascus. Jesus had to connect with him personally to get him to change his ways. This connection with Jesus is so powerful that Paul not only changes character and motives, he wants to spread the word of Jesus with the same energy that he used to find and kill Christians.
Imagine with me for a second. You see that James has been abusing Christians on his social media and getting them ‘cancelled’ by the wider society and then you turn up to church and find him there trying to lead bible study. You would be confused to right? What kind of trick is he playing? Where are the cameras? Acts 9:26 When Saul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples but they were all afraid of him not believing he was a true believer. The disciples had every right to be shook, they couldn’t trust Paul.
Back to my point - Paul and the disciples were lacking a CONNECTION. The disciples found it hard to associate him with being one of them, Paul wanted so badly to serve but he had zero credibility and had to build that connection from scratch. This is how he did it...
Acts 9:27 Barnabas brought him to the disciples...and how the Lord spoke to Him. Here we see an example of a Christian who was willing to listen and trust God that by Saul
being sent to him he wouldn’t be killed. He was willing to forgive Saul and look past the atrocities he committed and more importantly he formed a connection with Paul to the point where he was able to vouch for him. It was that connection that changed things for Paul. Acts 9:28 So Saul stayed with the Apostles because of one connection the ministry of Paul came alive and the disciples accepted him. They also formed their own connection with Him.
The hardest connections to make are with those who are untrustworthy or those who have hurt us before. We need to trust that God has the power to transform their lives. We also need to fully forgive them for their past and look to the future God is building in them. That connection we make could change the course of history forever.
We live in a time where being a Christian is becoming less and less desirable. Where there’s people actively trying to dismantle our beliefs and destroy the religion. The world still needs our service and we can still connect to them. We just need trust and forgiveness to work through it. If we serve through true connections, we can revive the ministry that Jesus started 2000 years ago The question is, do you want to be a part of it?
About the Author
My name is Tinopuwanashe (Tino) Masanga. I am a singer/songwriter from Nottingham with a passion for sharing what God has done for me through music and now through writing. I love planes, dad jokes and connecting with people.
Even though I grew up in the church, it took me a while to develop my own relationship with God. Chasing after Him and growing that relationship has been a humbling and transformative experience. I look forward to sharing all that I am learning and experiencing so if you wanna be a part of the journey:
find me on Instagram @_tino.masanga