There is stark contrast and sweet serendipity in John chapter 10. Jesus has been teaching and debating with the religious leaders in Jerusalem. In this place he must explain and convince people of who he is. The Pharisees, though the religious "leaders" of their day, have not prepared the hearts of the people to receive Jesus. As I read John 8-10, I wonder if there would have been anyone they would have received as Messiah. But the chapter ends on such a different note.
He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there. -
John, however. John the Baptizer is no longer alive, but when Jesus goes to the place where John has been, he finds the people ready to receive him. John's teaching had "prepared the way" for Jesus, just what John had been called to do. Even though he is no longer there to see it, his mission has been accomplished. They said of Jesus, "everything John said about this man was true." And many believed in him there.
Our focus can be on "religious things" that seem important, and yet we can get in the way of people seeing Jesus for who he is. John's job was to prepare the way. He spent his time and energy focused on testifying to who Jesus was, and the results were significant. Many people believed in Jesus. Am I in the way? Or am I preparing the way? What are you doing to prepare the way for Jesus in the lives of the people you lead?
Sometimes we need to take a step back, look at what we are doing, and ask ourselves this question: Are we as college ministry leaders helping students see Jesus clearer? If that is what we are to be about, what is essential in order for us to do that? Perhaps there are some activities or programs that we could set aside so that we can focus on preparing the way for Jesus.
Reading recommendations: Our staff has been reading a couple of books that are helpful in focusing your ministry on the essentials.
The Missional Journey, Multiplying Disciples and Churches that Transform the World, by Robert E. Logan. ChurchSmart Resources, 2013. A practical guide to developing missional ministry and missional churches.
Cultivating a Life for God, Multiplying Disciples Through Life Transformation Groups, by Neil Cole. A simple but challenging approach to disciple-making that focuses on the essentials of following Jesus.