It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (John 13:1 NIV)
How do we know that Jesus did 3 years of public ministry before he went to the cross? One clear sign to this effect is the references to 3 separate sets of the Passover Festival in the Gospel of John (John 2:13; John 6:4 and John 13:1). Luke 3:23 also tells us that Jesus was about 30 years old when he started public ministry. Therefore, we can reasonably conclude that Jesus was 33 years old when he was nailed to the cross.
There is very little recorded about the growing up years of Jesus. The 4 Gospels, the 4 first books of the New Testament, are focussed on what Jesus taught and did in his 3 years of public ministry.
Yesterday, November 7, 2019, marked a milestone in my pastoral calling at St. Andrew’s Streetsville. I started my 4th year of pastoral ministry. In the past month I reflected over how God had led me on a journey to St. Andrew’s Streetsville. About 25 years ago, if you would have asked me if I ever envisaged myself as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in Canada, I would have laughed at you. The road to St. Andrew’s Streetsville was not straight and short. It was, as John Lennon would tell you, a long and winding road. I have been a pastor in Vancouver, Brampton, Richmond Hill and now Mississauga. I have been a pastor in my original denomination, the Open Brethren, the Mennonite Church in Canada, the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada and now, the Presbyterian Church in Canada. I have been trained theologically at Regent College, U.B.C. and Knox College, University of Toronto.
In John 13:1 quoted above, Jesus notes that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father, after 3 years of public ministry. This is because this is the 3rd Passover John records. Jesus is about to wash his disciples’ feet. Jesus marks the end of this 3rd year by an act of servant-hood and humility.
In the last 3 years of my pastoral ministry at St. Andrew’s Streetsville, I focussed on preaching, praying and visitation. Rather than launch a vision that came out of my previous church experiences, I felt that need to connect with the people of the church community and continue to seek God’s will for them. In May of this year, the Elders (Session) and I agreed that this should be our mission statement for the next little while: We are a missional, multi-generational and multicultural community of people learning to follow Jesus. As I complete my 3 years of pastoral ministry, I hope to say that I have led us now to embrace this mission statement as our vision of church of life for the future.
I ask for your prayers as I begin my 4th year. May God lead and guide us to put legs to this mission statement he has given to us. Please don’t just pray for me. Please also pray for the Elders (Session) of St. Andrew’s Streetsville.