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Zechariah’s Vision of a Redeemed Ministry.

03/09/2019

Zechariah’s Vision of a Redeemed Ministry 

Text.  Zechariah 13:4-6

Zechariah talks about ministry in chapter 13.  He’s been referring to the time when redemption would be accomplished, when there would be a fountain opened up, so that sinners could be cleansed from their sins.  What a change that would make in ministry!  No longer would false ministers be tolerated in the true kingdom of God, in the body of Christ.  As he makes this point, Zechariah hints at what a redeemed ministry would look like in v4-6…

1 A ministry that is motivated by a redeemed heart.   We must remember that Zech has been reminding us about the fountain of redemption in verse 1, for he describes something that will happen ‘in that day.’ V6 is an echo of v1 There is a direct relationship between the life that has been saved, the soul that has been redeemed, and the desire to serve God, to speak out and speak up for him, to bring his message, and the truth of his revealed word to the whole world.  All of this stems from what Christ has done for us at the cross!    Galatians 1:13 Paul’s ministry is a direct consequence of his conversion.

Now, you will see then, that unconverted men and women have no right whatsoever to be occupying pulpits.  2 Peter 3:1-9  

 

2 A ministry that recognises its own limitations. “And it shall be in that day that every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies;

In the light of the amazing redemption that we have in Jesus – that the spotless Son of God would give Himself for a sinful wretch like me, I am, and I must be, ashamed, that I am such a poor advocate for Him.  The human mind is totally inadequate to understand or even imagine the glories of God, the wonder of his love, the finality of his will …  our words formed in our minds will always be inadequate.  There are practical considerations:

  • God uses our weakness to demonstrate his strength! Yes, our words are inadequate, and we are often ashamed of them, ashamed of the paucity of truth that they convey, of the poor understanding of the will of God…. 1 Corinthians 12:9-10   Even Paul was ashamed of his speech, but it did not deter him from speaking for Christ.  When preached at Athens, and the great great thinkers and philosophers gathered to hear him, they called him a ‘babbler’ Acts 17:18,  2 Corinthians 10:10  That certainly didn’t stop him from preaching the gospel!
  • We are only commanded to be faithful!  We are not required to be perfect in this world, even in ministry, we are simply commanded to be faithful to Jesus Christ.  

We have very great limitations, and we should look upon our service with humility, and learn to exercise some humility in regard to our calling and our profession.  We are far from perfect.

 

3 A ministry that rejects public recognition. 4 they will not wear a robe of coarse hair to deceive.

The robe of coarse hair was the prophet’s uniform.  Do you remember how John the Baptist dressed? Matthew 3:4-5  Now some people love their public recognition.   The true servant of God wants none of these things. Jesus warns us against performing our religious duties to be seen of men…   Matthew 6:1, 5, 16.

 

4 A ministry that is not professional.   5 But he will say, ‘I am no prophet, I am a farmer; for a man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.

Professionalism is the mark of modern ministry.  Zechariah tells us that when a pastor is exercising his ministry, not as a job, but as a response to God’s saving work, he will not consider himself a ‘professional.’  ‘I am not a prophet – I am a farmer!’   Amos too rejected the idea of a ‘professional ministry.’ He was a shepherd and a grower of fig trees.  Paul was a tent maker.   

 

5 A ministry that bears the scars of the Lord’s work. 6 And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds in your hands?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

Have you seen the hands of a labourer?  Or a farmer? Or a gardener?  They are rough, bruised, calloused. They bear the scars of a lifetime of physical toil. The hands of the true pastor will be wounded, and they will be wounded by his friends – by other Christians!   

But why would the pastor who is caring for the flock have these wounds in his hands?  That brings us back to our great pastor- our great shepherd of the flock, 

  • Whose hands were pierced by his own people – the people who should have been his friends. 
  • Whose hand were pieced by his friends – for he is the friend of sinners and he holds out those pierced hands to welcome all those who wounded them. 

Is this the ideal pattern of ministry?  In this whole passage Zechariah condemns false ministries. It is a serious warning to those who stand in pulpits, who claim to be speaking on behalf of Almighty God.  

© BobMcEvoy September 2019

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