Jesus and the Ordinary Gifts

The Holy Spirit gives gifts to the people of God. Some gifts are rather extraordinary-looking, things like miracles, gifts of healings, speaking in tongues, and the like. But other gifts look rather ordinary, things like administration, teaching, or helping. On the surface, they appear to be rather normal things that many humans can be good at. But these gifts, when empowered by the Holy Spirit, are powerful tools in the lives of the people of God. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the earthly life of Jesus.

Jesus, though he was and is fully God (John 8:58, Col. 1:15, Heb. 1:3), lived and operated by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1) during his earthly ministry. Because of this, we should not be surprised to see the gifts of the Spirit in operation in Jesus’ life and ministry, even the so-called “ordinary” ones.

Jesus clearly exercised leadership, casting a vision for the future and calling people to follow him (Matt. 19:28, Mark 1:17, John 8:12).
Jesus used the gift of administration, appointing certain disciples to certain tasks  and sending out the seventy-two in pairs to go and share the good news of the kingdom throughout the region (Luke 10:1).
Jesus operated apostolically, crossing boundaries (John 4:4-5) and reaching new people with the message of redemption. The author of Hebrews, reflecting on Jesus’ ministry, specifically calls Jesus our “apostle and high priest of our confession” (Heb. 3:1).
Jesus was an evangelist, sharing the “good news of the kingdom” wherever he went (Matt. 4:23, Mark 16:15).
Jesus powerfully used spiritual gifts of teaching (Matt. 5-7), speaking words of great knowledge (Matt. 9:4, Luke 2:46-47) and wisdom (Mark 4:1-34) throughout his earthly ministry.
Jesus discerned the hearts of people (Matt. 9:4, John 2:24), distinguished between spirits (Mark 9:14-29), even calling his own disciple Peter “Satan” when he told Jesus not to go to the cross (Matt. 16:23).
Jesus used the gift of exhortation to urge people toward lives of godliness and faithfulness (Luke 3:18, Mark 8:34).
Even though he did not possess many resources during his earthly ministry (Matt. 8:20), Jesus still used the gift of giving, being generous to many, (Matt. 14:13-21, John 2:1-12), ultimately giving his very life for our redemption (John 3:16).
Jesus was a shepherd, caring for people who were harassed and helpless (Matt. 9:36, Luke 13:34).
Jesus helped and served (John 13:3-8), even declaring plainly that “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Jesus exercised great faith in his Father. Even in his darkest and most painful moments, he trusted God and the plan of salvation (Matt. 26:39) that had been set in place from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4).
All of this he did with tender mercy, weeping over the death of Lazarus (John 11:35), being moved in his heart for suffering people (Mark 5:19), and crying out words of mercy and forgiveness from the cross (Luke 23:34). Hebrews 3:17 says that Jesus is our “merciful and faithful high priest.”

If you find yourself feeling disappointed that you did not receive one of the more “extraordinary” gifts, take heart! The same gifts that Jesus used are alive and at work within you. And also remember that these gifts are never an end in themselves; they serve to point us to Jesus, the one who used all of the gifts of the Spirit for the redemption of the world.