My Great Delight in God's Word
The Mending Ministry of John, Message 1
The Mending Ministry of Life
The Mending Ministry of john
This bible passage describes the scene in which the first 4 disciples were called by Jesus. I have read through it many times, but have not realised that what Peter and John were doing when they were called by Jesus have some hidden implications. According to the passage, Peter was fishing in the sea, while John was mending the nests. Interestingly, if we follow their stories afterwards, we will see that Peter's ministry was mainly about fishing, preaching the Gospel and leading people to Christ, which is clearly seen in the book of Acts, whereas John's ministry was focusing on mending, as implied by what he wrote in the Gospel of John and all his 3 Epistles. After the death of Paul, the church was insidiously attacked and damaged by the contamination of heresies and false teachings. John's ministry was therefore aimed to restore the damaged spiritual net, and to strengthen and perfect it.
What does the word "mending" mean? According to Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries, this word comes from the Greek word "katartizo," which means "to complete thoroughly, i.e. repair or adjust." This word appears a few times in the New Testament, and KJV renders the word as fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect(-ly join together), prepare, and restore. Therefore the nest need not have a hole in order to be mended. What James and John were doing might not be only repairing the nests, but also strengthening or perfecting them.
Yes, the Church nowadays still needs the "fishing" ministry. Many people in this world have not heard the Gospel, and they do need someone who would preach the Gospel to them and bring them to salvation through the faith in Christ. This is the means whereby the Church becomes bigger. But the Church today needs the people who would participate in the "mending" ministry much more. In order for the Church to be built up, it does need mending, perfecting, equipping and attuning, which are included in the mending ministry of life. This is the means whereby the Church is strengthened and built up, so that it would eventually attain to "the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13 NKJV).
I really appreciate the analogy given by brother Witness Lee. Piling up materials and building them up are totally different things, are they not?
My room has got many piles of books and stuff, but one may call them anything but a "building." They are in a real mess. I'm really good at fishing, as I have bought many books online and they were brought into my room. But I'm really bad at organising or tidying them up. When I need a book, I need to carefully take it out, or that pile of books may totally collapse, because it is weak.
Likewise, on local church may be really good at evangelism and bring so many people to the church. That church may have up to millions of people gather together, but if there is no one in that church who has burden for the mending ministry, the large number of people will never result in the building up of the body. It will be just a gathering of the people. That church does need the mending ministry, which will unite the people together into a complete oneness, and will perfect them so that they will be conformed to the image of the Son, as they are predestined to be.
Are you willing to participate in this crucial ministry for the building up of the Church today?
The Ministry of Life
To participate in the mending ministry is simply to minister life of Christ to others. And this verse is the clearest one that describes the ministering of life.
Many modern translations render the second "he" in this verse as "He," or "God." However, according to the grammar of the original language, the second "he" should be the same person as the first "he." The asker therefore is the life-giver. Therefore, brothers and sisters, it clearly is our responsibility to minister life to the ones who are falling into the temptation, in order to restore them, strengthen them and perfect them.
May God help us that we will understand the desires of His heart, and wholeheartedly participate in the mending ministry of life, by receiving more life from Him, enjoying the abundant life we have in Him, and dispensing this life to others, for the building up of the Body.
Thirayost Nimmanon (Tony)
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