Scripture: Matthew 4:23-25 - 23. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
Imagine living in Judea, or Samaria, or Galilee in the days of Jesus. How amazing it must have been to spend a day listening to Jesus teach - watching Him display the power of God through the miracles He performed.
I often sit back and think: Which side would I take with regard to the acceptance of this man? I think, "Well, I would believe and follow Jesus!" But, would I? In a way I'm glad that I was not back there - but I am here and on the side of my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
The passage quoted above gives us a summary of three activities with which Jesus occupied Himself while on this earth.
1. He came proclaiming the gospel - or, as other translations have it, He came preaching. By His preaching Jesus drove away man's ignorance. He came to tell people the truth about God - to tell them that which they by themselves could have never found out. He came to put an end to guessing and to groping, and to show men what God is like - Acts 17:22-31
2. He came teaching in the synagogues - What is the difference between preaching and teaching? Preaching is the uncompromising proclamation of certainties; teaching is the explanation of the meaning and the significance of them. So, besides driving away man's ignorance, Jesus came also to drive away men's misunderstandings. There are times when people know the truth and misinterpret it. They know the truth and draw the wrong conclusions from it - 2 Timothy 3:14-17
3. He came healing all those in need of healing - Jesus came to drive away people's hurts. Jesus didn't just come to tell men the truth in words; He came to show God's truth in action. Jesus demonstrated the love and the power of God in His supernatural activity - in this He is also showing that the God who can provide the needed help in temporal things is also able to give man the help he needs with the issues of eternal concern - He can heal the body from sickness and He can rescue the soul from hell - James 1:26-27; Matthew 25:34-40
So - Jesus came preaching that He might drive away all ignorance. He came teaching that He might drive away all misunderstandings. He came healing that He might drive away all pain - and all of these apply to the physical world and the spiritual.
All of this is still true where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is presented. The empowering of the Church by the Holy Spirit is for the purpose of achieving these three wonderful ministries (and more, of course) - to our shame, many quarters of Christianity lament with the lament expressed by the writer of Psalm 74 which reads: We are given no signs from God; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be (Psalm 74:9).
May God raise preachers and teachers and prophets in the Christian community so the power of God will once again be evident in knowledge, in understanding, and in healing. Please pray with me to that end!
("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)