Charles Preston Glencoe – Jesus’ Ministry – 1979

I would like to refer to some of the outstanding ‘must’s in the life of Jesus. In childhood, He said, “Wist ye not, I must be about My Father’s business.” Sometimes we think of the word ‘must’ as a kind of compelling thing, and so it is, but with Jesus, He could not be content with anything else, but that came first, His Father’s business. We, too, come to the place where we are moved with that same impulse, ‘must.’


There are many ‘must’s of Jesus’ ministry and life and so on. The first ‘must’ of His ministry is in Luke 4:43-44, “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities, also.” In this particular place, the people wanted to keep him there, but Jesus wanted them to know He was not a stationary preacher, did not settle in one place and never move on, and that is why we think of it as the ‘must’ of Jesus’ ministry. “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also; for therefore am I sent.” In the Ministry, we never come to the place where we say, “This is my field and I must stay here continually.” Jesus said, “I must preach …for therefore am I sent,” for that purpose. 


It is a wonderful thing, a stimulus to us in the Ministry as we think of that part of Jesus’ life, and as we launch out into a new year. The Lord may be sending me to a new field, fine, because that is the purpose for which we are called. We never want to get into a position of stagnation in the Ministry. That would be detrimental. God has called us into the Ministry to follow the example of Jesus. He is our example for the child in the home, “I must be about My Father’s business.” It is wonderful to see the youth among us that have that same ‘must’ in their lives. I love to listen to the testimonies of our young ones. 


Luke 9:22, “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised on the third day.” Jesus had this so firmly fixed in His mind that nothing turned Him aside from fulfilling it, going ahead to face whatever had to come. Luke 22:37, “… That this that is written must yet be accomplished in me; He was reckoned among the transgressors, for the things concerning me have an end.” He accomplished or fulfilled the Scripture. Fulfilling the Scriptures was part of Jesus’ life. 


We often read that He did this or taught that, “that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.” It would be wonderful if we, after all we have heard these days, of some things we could say, “That must be fulfilled in my life from now on.” We could have that kind of a ‘must’ also in our experience and it would be a very precious thing if we do, that we must fulfill the word of God. The word of God was made flesh and dwelt among people. That was said of Jesus in John 1:14. Jesus was in the world in the form of a man, the carpenter’s son. God’s word was made practical in His own life. He started it in His childhood days and maintained it right to the finish. 


Philippians 2:1-5, “If there be any consolation in Christ … Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” In the Chinese translation of this, ‘mind’ is ‘heart.’ “Let this heart be in you…” We sometimes use the words ‘mind’ or ‘heart’ interchangeably. The ‘must’s in Jesus’ life were so much part of His heart, the very being. Paul in writing to the Christians said, “Let this mind (or heart) be in you….” 


I heard the Gospel in my home state of Montana and my mother professed the next summer. Shortly afterwards, we moved to Los Angeles and there was only one church there. Now there are about forty. About a dozen met together in a home. They were talking of a Convention and I had no idea of Convention. They said, “Be sure and plan to go to the Convention at Bakersfield.” In September, I had secured a job I liked very much but Convention was in November and I had to ask for permission to get off and I had been there such a short time. I was told, “It is contrary to the rules of the company to give you leave of absence, but a week before you want to go, come and talk to me again.” But again I was told, “It is contrary to the rules of the company. What do you want to do?” I said, “There is a Christian Convention and I want to attend.” “Is it a ‘must’ that you go?” I could not speak from experience but something inside me said, “Yes, it is a ‘must’.” He said, “Well, if it is a ‘must’ there is no other way. You have to go, but I cannot promise you your job when you come back.” I had been looking for a job and had found this one so I thought, “I guess I could look for another.” 


We spent a day traveling to the Convention, were there for four days, and another day to return. That was six days away from my job so I thought for sure I’d be looking for a job when I got back, but things were all right and the boss gave me my work back again. “It is a ‘must’,” that voice inside me had said and I am very glad I responded. Sometimes we are a little bit too indefinite in our purposes and decisions about this matter of getting to Convention, to Special Meetings, fellowship meetings but put this ‘must’ into it and we will prove that likely we will get there. 


I should give a word of commendation for my mother. She had a great deal to do with encouraging me and keeping me in the Work. In my first year I was in the Work, Father passed away in Montana state where I went into the Work. Things were not very good economically at home, with not enough ready cash to pay the expenses for the burial. Mother would know how I would feel, so she spoke to a Sister Worker there and said, “Tell Charlie he is not to leave the Work for my sake. Even though there are debts, I am able to work and I will earn money to pay for these debts.” Mother was getting on, near 60. She went into a home as a servant: cooked, washed dishes and clothes, and earned the money to bury my father. 


This is a ‘must’ that was in a mother’s heart, a ‘must’ that her son continue in the Work. That has been an inspiration to me down through the years. We highly appreciate the sacrifice of those who have sons and daughters in the Work. It costs parents a good deal to see their sons and daughters in the Work and as you use your influence to keep them in the Work, God honours you for that, and be sure you will not be without your due reward. 


Philippians 2:6, “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation…He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” It is a wonderful thing, just to take stock and see where we stand. I asked myself, “How about taking a bit of stock?” This mind, spirit, heart that Jesus had that moved Him to do what He did, do I have that? “Let this mind be in you…” It is possible for us to have the same mind. He had the form of God; He was God’s Son and had a right legitimately but it says that He, “made Himself…” All things He did Himself voluntarily. We are sometimes forced into something, pressures have come on us, certain conditions have come, and we develop certain qualities because of that. Jesus made Himself of no reputation, in the world giving His life for the sake of man and not seeking for the glory of men at all. 


“He took upon him the form of a servant.” He was not forced into that. It could have been otherwise. He was “made in the likeness of men,” and in so doing He “humbled Himself.” Sometimes we are forced to be humbled. Conditions and things we meet up with can humble us. God sees it necessary to allow conditions to develop in our experiences that will humble us if we don’t humble ourselves. If we are not humble, we don’t get anywhere with God. A proud person has no place in the Kingdom of God. God does not want us to miss out on having a part in His glorious Kingdom. If we have this mind that Jesus had, we will humble ourselves and not wait for God to do it. Jesus “became obedient unto death…” That was an outstanding characteristic in Jesus’ life, that He became obedient. Every step of the thirty-three and a half years of His life were marked with this obedience. At twelve years of age, He had said, “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business,” and then it says that He returned with them and was obedient to them. He had that mark of obedience. God delights to see obedience in us. There are many things we are not able to do. God does not expect the impossible of anybody, but we can all be obedient. We read over and over again of God’s dealings with the children of Israel, and one thing He wanted to see was the spirit of obedience. Sometimes they were disobedient and God in all His patience dealt with them in various ways, seeking to cause them to be obedient. It is wonderful when we love to obey because we love God, and Jesus His Son, and His life we want to have as our life. These things become a part of us. “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” 


In Luke 22:7, 17, we read of the Passover feast. Jesus gathered together with His twelve disciples. “And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this, and divide this among yourselves,’” and in verse 20, “Likewise also the cup after supper…” I used to wonder why there are two cups mentioned here, but this was the ending of the old covenant, the last Passover, and the new covenant coming into effect when Jesus died on the cross. The old covenant was in force until Jesus died. 


It speaks of the veil of the temple that separated the holy place from the holy of holies, being rent in twain from the top to the bottom. Before that, no one was allowed to enter except the high priest, first having gone through cleansing for himself and so on, then he entered in to have communion with God at the mercy seat. After Jesus was crucified He opened the way for us to have direct access to the Father through the Spirit. That veil was rent in twain, it was finished, and now we can pray to the Father and God listens to our prayers because we say, “In the name of Jesus.” 


Why do we say that? It is not because we are ending our prayer and so that people will know we have finished praying. It has a definite meaning. God will listen to our petitions if we recognise, “I have no claim in approaching unto God, only through Jesus and His sacrifice.” In verses 19-20, there was the institution of the breaking of bread, a very sacred thing. It was in the upper room of this home. There is a like symbol of it in the Passover. When the children of Israel prepared to leave Egypt, they had a lamb for the household and if there were not enough people in the home to consume the whole lamb they were to ask their nearby neighbour. They partook of it in the home and then they left Egypt that night. It is a wonderful thing that we have this institution of remembering Him, His sacrifice and the blood that was shed. 


John 13 speaks about this same time. Verses 1 to 5 speak about Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. These disciples knew the custom of the land well enough. People wore sandals and did not go far before their feet were dusty and as they went to a home as a guest, someone would take water and a bowl and wash their feet as a gesture of welcome. These disciples, not one made a move to do that. I feel it was not because of the custom itself that Jesus wanted to give them a lesson, but wanted them to get a message within the message, a message of service, of being a servant. 


Paul said, “He took upon Him the form of a servant.” Jesus said, “I came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and give My life a ransom for many.” The disciples needed to learn this, because there was a spirit developing in them. They were beginning to discuss who was going to be the leader, who was the greatest. Jesus had impressed on their minds He was going to leave them and they were wondering who really was the biggest and greatest. That is why not one made a move to want to wash the others’ feet, but Jesus washed their feet. Verses 12-15, “After He had washed their feet …. ye should do as I have done unto you.” Jesus taught many precious things and never said a word. He did it by example and this lesson was one of them, that of service, being a servant, being gladly willing to serve. The one thing very outstanding in a Convention gathering is this spirit of service even to the very youngest, they want to grow big enough to do something. 


That is a wonderful spirit and is different from what we are naturally speaking. This is what Jesus wanted these men to get firmly fixed in their minds, to have that spirit of willingness to serve. In another place, we read that in the world there are those who have authority over others but, “I am among you as one who serves.” After Jesus had washed their feet He said, “Ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” How do we do it? As far as the custom now, it is not necessary, but where can we wash one another’s feet? This is what it means to me. It is when we are diligent through the week, seeking the help of God, reading and praying to get food for our souls, and living waters to quench our thirst. We do that because we need it, getting food to sustain us and enable us to have strength to do His will. 


When we come together on the first day of the week in our little meetings and in childlike simplicity, we tell what had been real to us during that week because of our reading, praying, and meditating. We are not preaching at anybody but just giving something that has been real to us, has fed my own heart, and satisfied my own needs, then that is washing our Brothers’ and Sisters’ feet, and will help them in their walk. I have been in Sunday morning meetings, listening to the testimonies and unbeknownst to them, it was cleansing and washing my feet, giving me help I was needing. It is a wonderful privilege to do this. It is not just reading the Bible to have something to say on a Sunday morning. That would not wash anybody’s feet, but it is to give forth the thing that is real and fresh to us, then it will feed and help others to wash their feet. 


There is a sad note in this chapter in verses 20-26, where Jesus spoke of one of them betraying Him. When they asked Jesus, “Who will betray you?” He said, “The one to whom I shall give this sop.” Why didn’t they know immediately when He gave it to Judas? They never thought Judas would do it. The sop was a gesture of undying love for that individual, and they would have thought it could not have been Judas because He would not be manifesting undying love toward the man who was going to betray Him, but He did. “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to the end.” When a Brother or Sister fails or comes short, what do you do? Do you go to a third party to pour it out? Jesus didn’t do that. He is our great example. He could very well have taken this attitude and said, “We will have to be careful. Judas is going to betray me.” He didn’t do that. He gave Judas every chance to change but he didn’t. 


What led Judas to do this? He was despising others’ sacrifices. When he thought that precious ointment was wasted on Jesus, he said, “Couldn’t this be sold for so much and given to the poor?” He was not concerned about the poor, but saw the spirit of sacrifice in another because they loved Jesus, and he began to despise that because he was not willing for it himself. Judas was opening the door for Satan to come in. When one starts like that, there is no telling to what extent they will go. 


Verse 31, “Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.’” All through that period, when Judas and the others were with Him, He knew from the start Judas was going to do that, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. He chose him and He knew well before that Judas was going to betray Him. Jesus was praying all through the night before He chose those twelve. He fought that battle out, and next day, He chose him, and then was able to show the undying love for that man during that time right to the end. Do you wonder then that He could say, “Now is the Son of man glorified.” In other words, “I have succeeded in the struggle I have had against My own natural inclinations, in order to fulfill the word of God.” John 14:1, “Let not your heart be troubled ….I go to prepare a place for you.” Jesus knew the hearts of those eleven men were burdened, but Jesus was looking ahead. That was a wonderful thing that in all the ministry of Jesus, He had that ability to look beyond the present shortcomings of people to what could be in the future. So often I form in my mind an opinion about somebody because of what they are now. We must have more compassion because Jesus had that for us. He saw the rough condition of those men but He was looking ahead and could say, “I know they are going to be like that.” 


To Peter He said, “Satan hath desired to have you that he might sift you as wheat but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not, and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” He did not say, “Well, if you are converted,” or, “If the time comes and you ever get converted,” but He said, “when…” He had perfect confidence in that man that he would get converted. We want to take home the thought that Jesus has confidence in us. Regardless of where we are, and how unworthy we are, He has confidence in us. It is good if we can show to one another, “I have confidence in you that you will get the victory.” Satan wants to sift out of lives everything that is worthwhile and he does not care what is left. You can still go through the form and pretend that you are a child of God, but he has taken out everything that is worthwhile. 


Verse 2, “In My Father’s house are many mansions.” As a result of obedience to God, He gives us of His spirit. We are His dwelling place now, we are His mansions. “What, know ye not that ye are the temple of God and the spirit of God dwelleth in you.” It is a wonderful thought that in the Father’s household, there are many dwelling places of His spirit. “I go to prepare a place for you.” In the sacrifice of Jesus, if He had not shed His blood, the Spirit of God could not dwell with us. 


Jesus, in giving these men assurance of the future and promises of that Holy Spirit said, “It is expedient that I leave you, and I will send you the Holy Spirit, and He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, that I have taught you, and will guide you into all truth.” They were wonderful promises Jesus gave to those men and there are many more precious things in those chapters.