1 Nov 2017
Jesus demonstrated many times that he knew what others were thinking. Often this was displayed when it concerned his enemies, but frequently also with His disciples.
So when Jesus asked His disciples "who do the people say that I am?" It was not that He did not already know ... but He was simply preparing them for the question .... "who do you say that I am?" Jesus dedication to absolute obedience drove Him to make His every decision based solely upon the will and desire of His Father. He was not distracted by money or numbers or buildings or popular opinions. He stuck to this one and only thing, to please His Father, and to perfectly do the Father's will.
Several times during the earthly ministry of Jesus it appeared in the eyes of this world that His ministry was failing. This should give us pause to be careful not to lean too heavily upon what we see with our eyes. We are likely very much like the disciples who all left or denied Him on the night that He was arrested in the Garden. We do not know how God is using apparent defeat or lack of visual ministry for His ultimate victory. In the great and awesome orchestra of heaven we each have been given a few notes to play on our assigned instrument. We have no idea of the real nature of the melody. So our evaluation must be not based on what we hear but only on our faithful obedience to play the notes on the instrument we have been given at the time they are to be played.
The only accurate evaluation of our performance can be made by the conductor. So in order to perform to our very best we must eliminate all distractions and keep our eyes exclusively focused on instantaneous obedience to Grand Conductor, the Holy Spirit of God!
The messenger from God to God's people must be careful not to value his worth based on the response of the people of God. Like in the case of Jeremiah of old some may respond to the message of God but at times many may not.
An accurate metric for preaching has two main parts: a) to what extent did this message come from the instruction and illumination of the Word from the Spirit. And b) how faithful was the preacher to the truth the Spirit revealed. When these two pieces are fully in place the preacher should not fret should the people of God seem to fail to respond. God's plan is always higher than our understanding.
God is the provider of the true message. God is also the one Who alone knows the hearts of His people. It is not the preacher's responsibility to make something happen that is God's responsibility alone! The flesh is addicted to study the visible results, but the Spirit does not count using the same numerals as the flesh. He uses a math system built entirely upon faith and obedience that is only clearly and fully apparent in heaven.