by Mario Vega
Jesus was a public figure. Crowds followed him wherever he went. Groups of six to seven thousand people usually followed him and considering the time in which Jesus lived, this percentage represents a high percentage of the province of Israel.
Sometimes the crowd was so numerous that he had to get into a boat to move away, so he could preach to everyone. At other times, he had to move away becuase the multitude would have crushed him. Yet, the Master of the crowds was also the Pastor of the people. He made time to minister to the Samaritan woman. He had time to dine with the Pharisees. He went to the house of Zacchaeus and Simon the leper. He was a close friend of Lazarus and his sisters.
In his missionary practice, Jesus worked with both large groups and with smaller groups. Through His example, Jesus paved the way for the common practice in the New Testament church, which also worked with large groups and with small groups, the celebrations and the meetings in houses.
Dr. Ralph Neighbor has called these two components the two wings of the church. The two wings are designed by God to help the church soar to new heights. The modern cell movement represents an effort to rescue this common new Testament practice, which was first initiated by the Master Himself.
Translation into Spanish
La prÃ¡ctica misionera de JesÃºs
JesÃºs fue un personaje pÃºblico y multitudinario. Dondequiera Ã©l se mova, multitudes le seguan. Grupos de seis mil a siete mil personas eran usuales tras Ã©l en una Ã©poca cuando tales cantidades representaban porcentajes elevados de la poblaciÃ³n de la provincia de Israel.
A veces las personas eran tantas que Ã©l deba subir a una barca para alejarse a una distancia prudente para que todos pudieran escucharle. En otras ocasiones los necesitados eran tantos que le opriman y le aplastaban.
Pero ese Maestro de las multitudes era tambiÃ©n un Pastor de personas. DedicÃ³ tiempo a la mujer samaritana. Tena tiempo para conversar con fariseos en cenas a las que le invitaban. Fue a casa de Zaqueo y de SimÃ³n el leproso. Era estrecho amigo de LÃ¡zaro y sus hermanas.
En su prÃ¡ctica misionera es fÃ¡cil identificar que JesÃºs trabajÃ³ tanto con grupos muy numerosos como con grupo mÃ¡s pequeÃ±os. De alguna manera, con su ejemplo, guiaba a lo que sera la prÃ¡ctica comÃºn de la iglesia del Nuevo Testamento: el trabajo con grupos grandes y con grupos pequeÃ±os. Las celebraciones y las reuniones en las casas.
Esos dos componentes que el Dr. Ralph Neighbour ha denominado la iglesia de dos alas es la que pudo remontarse a la altura de las expectativas de Dios. El movimiento celular moderno es un esfuerzo por rescatar la prÃ¡ctica de la iglesia del Nuevo Testamento y la prÃ¡ctica misionera de JesÃºs.
4 thoughts on “The Missionary Practice of Jesus”
I love your insight here, Mario. I’ve never thought of Christ’s ministry like this. You’ve enlightened me. Yet, all that you said is true. Jesus worked with both the large crowds and the small groups, just like the early church. Thanks for this insight.
Thanks Mario! I agree with Joel and feel this insight into Jesus is often overlooked. When we think of the two winged church we go right to the early church. “They met in the Temple courts and from House to house.” I have found regular participation in both wings valuable to my life. It’s good to come to a place where many people are gathered and we are reminded of how big God is but then to gather with a few and be reminded of the intimacy of God. I really feel if a person chooses only one of these wings they are missing 50% of what God has created for them to experience.
As with Bro. Joel and Bro. Michael, I have also overlooked this fact of Jesus’ ministry. I’ve been looking to the apostle Paul’s ministry of Acts 20:20 — “Teaching in public and from house-to-house”.
I find it interesting that a man whose conversion began as a blind man on the road to Damascus would then have the 20/20 vision he had. Evidently Paul’s eyes were wide open as he realized this insight of Jesus’ ministry!
Sharing the Journey,
Actually Mario, Bill Beckham wrote about a two-winged church in the Second Reformation. Dad did pick up on it and use it though 🙂