The Story of Jesus - His Ministry Emphases

Bible Book: Luke  2 : 49
Subject: Jesus, Ministry of
Series: The Story of Jesus

This morning I want us to consider the emphatic ministry of our Lord – or we might say, the “must” ministry of our Lord. In reading recently the writings of Alexander Maclaren and F.B. Meyer, I’ve been prompted to consider the various occasions in the gospel record when Jesus used the word “must.” While there are many times in the other gospel accounts when Christ used this word, I want us to confine our thoughts to those occurrences in the gospel of Luke.

In Luke’s gospel we see a Man (the Man) who must do some things. This word “must” that our Lord used time after time, is the Greek word dei. It is an impersonal verb, signifying "it is necessary" or "one must," "one ought," and it is found most frequently in the Gospels, Acts, and the Revelation. This Greek word is also rendered by the words “behoved, be meet, must (needs), (be) need (-ful), ought, should.”

(Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)

Must dei (NT:1163). Literally, "it is necessary, or it behooves." A word often used by Jesus concerning his own appointed work, and expressing both the inevitable fulfillment of the divine counsels and the absolute constraint of the principle of duty upon himself.

(Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

must (m¾st) aux.v. 1. To be obliged or required by morality, law, or custom. 2. To be compelled, as by a physical necessity or requirement. 3. Used to express a command or an admonition. 4. To be determined to; have as a fixed resolve. 5. Used to indicate inevitability, probability, or certainty. (American Heritage Dictionary)

I. There Must Be A Ministry Of Serving

A. He Said, “I Must Perform The Deeds Of My Father”

(Luke 2:49) And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

Luke 2:49

Literally, "in the things of my Father." The words will bear this rendering; but the English Revised Version (1885) is better, "in my Father's house." (Vincent's Word Studies)

NIV (Luke 2:49) "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"

NASU (Luke 2:49) And He said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?"

All of the modern translations use the word “house” instead of “business.” I personally believe that the word “business” is the better rendering. For one can be in the Father’s house and not be in the Father’s heart. You can be in His place and not be in His pleasure. You can reside in His realm and yet rise up in rebellion. You can be in the domain of the Father and not be in the duty of the Father. You can be an occupying son and not be an obedient son.

B. He Said, “I Must Proclaim The Dominion Of My Father”

In Luke chapter 4, following the wilderness temptations, Jesus goes to minister in Galilee – in Nazareth (vs. 16), and in Capernaum (vs. 31). In verse 38-39, He healed Simon’s mother-in-law, and I guess because others wanted Him to deal with the problems that they were having with their mothers-in-law…

(Luke 4:42) And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.

(Luke 4:43) And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.

preach – [Greek euaggelizo] to announce good news (“evangelize”) especially the gospel:--declare, bring (declare, show) glad (good) tidings, preach (the gospel).

Aren’t you glad that some preacher felt compelled by the Lord to preach the kingdom of God in your city also?!

(1 Corinthians 9:16) For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

II. There Must Be A Ministry Of Suffering

(Luke 22:7) Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.

A. Concerning His Suffering, Jesus Said, “There Must Be A Rejection”

Luke 9:18-22

(Luke 9:22) Saying, 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 the third day.

Luke 17:22-25

(Luke 17:25) But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.

He must be the stone that the builders disallowed. He must come unto His own, and His own receive Him not.

B. Concerning His Suffering, Jesus Said, “There Must Be A Reckoning”

(Luke 22:37) For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

reckoned – [Greek logizomai] log-id'-zom-ahee; to take an inventory, i.e. estimate (lit. or fig.):--conclude, (ac-) count (of), + despise, esteem, impute, lay, number, reason, reckon, suppose, think (on).

(Isaiah 53:12) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

To the Emmaus road disciples, He said… (Luke 24:26) Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

(Luke 24:44) And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

‘Must’ is a hard word. It may express an unwelcome necessity. Was this necessity unwelcome? When He said: ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up,’ was he shrinking, or reluctantly submitting? Ah, no! He must die because He would save, and would save because He did love. What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?

(Alexander Maclaren)

(Hebrews 10:3-9 … He wasn’t saying, “If I must suffer, I will,” as if it were a drudgery - rather, He had delight in doing His Father’s will.

C. Concerning His Suffering, Jesus Said, “There Must Be A Resurrection”

(Luke 24:7) Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

III. There Must Be A Ministry Of Saving

A. Jesus Said, “There Must Be A Reception”

(Luke 19:5) And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

Amos was a “gatherer of sycamore fruit” or figs (Amos 7:14). Christ was too!

B. Jesus Said, “There Must Be A Regeneration”

(Luke 5:38) But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

Bottles, in Eastern nations, were made, and are still made, of the skins of beasts. Generally the skin was taken entire from a sheep or a goat, and, properly prepared, was filled with wine or water. Such bottles are still used, because, in crossing deserts of sand, they have no other conveyances but camels, or other beasts of burden. They would fill two skins, and fasten them together and lay them across the back of a camel, and thus carry wine or water to a great distance. By long usage, bottles of skins became tender and would be easily ruptured. New wine put into them would ferment, and swell and burst them open. New skins or bottles would YIELD to the fermenting wine, and be strong enough to hold it from bursting. So, says Christ, there is “fitness” or propriety of things. It is not “fit” that my doctrine should be attached to or connected with the old and corrupt doctrines of the Pharisees. New things should be put together, and made to MATCH. (Barnes’ Notes)

Jesus said to Nicodemus (John 3:7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.


An English soldier was converted in the trenches during the First World War and wrote home to his mother saying, “This war had to occur that I might be saved.” The mother showed the letter to her minister, remarking that her boy was overly magnifying the importance of his salvation. But the minister agreed with the boy. “Madam,” he said, “not only this war, but Calvary, had to occur to save your boy.” God used the wrath that raged both at Calvary and through that awful war experience to bring the young man to the Savior.