Matthew chapter 4:23-25
“Jesus was going all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing ever disease and sickness among the people. Then the news about Him spread throughout Syria. So they brought to Him all those who were afflicted, those suffering from various diseases and intense pains, the demon-possessed, the epileptics, and the paralytics. And He healed them. Large crowds followed Him from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.”
Previously I wrote about following the Lord.We saw how the men who would become the apostles were called to leave their earthly endeavor and take up the cause of building a people for the Lord.We see how men we asked to leave their businesses and lives so that they would reach people with the gospel of peace and life.Today, we, as part of New Testament churches are called to continue the work of bringing the gospel of life to the people that are around us.
Before Jesus could set about to establish the call to the kingdom He had to establish that He is all powerful.This is extremely essential.What would be the point of serving a God who is limited and powerless?He was asking these men to leave all, their family businesses and livelihood to travel the world, put their lives on the line and leave all that they knew to serve wholly.
All throughout the Old Testament the nation of Israel seemed to wander off into idolatry, read the book of the Judged, Jeremiah and Ezekiel just to name a few.God always marveled that they would worship gods would had eyes but could not see, ears but could not hear and feet but they could not move.
Why would anyone worship a god that you had to carry?This makes no sense. Thus Jesus set about to show His power.We know from verses 13-17 that Jesus began to show His power in an area that was heavily populated by Gentiles.Folks we got to see the power of God first hand.
Jesus’ ministry initially had two parts and we will explore them here today:
Jesus Preached the Gospel, Verse 23
The word gospel means “good news.”Jesus preached the Good News of the kingdom.The news was that God had come to redeem mankind and to set up a new covenant with him through Jesus.The first recipients of the gospel were the Gentiles.These were despised by the Jews and I cannot imagine what these 12 Jewish disciples must have thought about Jesus and where He was. Many Jews did not associate with Gentiles. But these were the target of the first leg of Jesus’ earthly ministry.
We, too, are called to preach the Good News to the unreached.All too often the New Testament churches have decided that certain people are going to hell.So we don’t send people there and we certainly don’t go there just like the Jews who hated the Gentiles we act the same way.In Acts 10 the apostle Paul was surprised along with the entire church at Jerusalem that the Holy Spirit would come in Gentiles.Often we behave the same way, we are astonished that God saved homeless people or drug addicts or prostitutes as if the gospel is powerless to wipe out these sins.
No one is beyond the reach of the gospel UNLESS they decide that they don’t want to be reached.We need to be reaching everyone that God puts in our path, make the effort to say something, pray for them, give out a tract, ask them to come and meet someone who can share with them.Do whatever, BUT do something to get them the Good News of the kingdom.
Jesus Established Power Over Diseases, Verses 24-25
Again what is the point of a powerless God?Jesus established that He had power over men’s bodies and the diseases that destroy us. All people fear death; it is the enemy. God put the desire to live forever in our hearts and unless you know where you are going after this life death is to be feared and it is by most.
People desire to leave a legacy something to live on by and through after they are gone. They name buildings after themselves and build huge monuments to themselves hoping that their names will live on after they are gone.Death is the final enemy of all men (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
In Jesus’ day and in the millennia that followed up until just after WW2, disease and death went hand in hand.Epidemics would kill off thousands and mar many times more.When someone became sick back when Jesus came along there was real fear and concern.The things that we take for granted like a cut or an infection because of the advances in medicines, were cause for genuine concern.
People died from minor things all the time.So Jesus came along and showed that He had the power to defeat their greatest enemy; disease and death. With a word, or a gesture or a touch He healed the sick, cast out demons, took away their pain, made people to walk and even healed genetic diseases like the palsy and leprosy.Jesus was showing that He was and is the all powerful God.
Jesus is still the all powerful God.He is still the God who has conquered death and continues to do so daily in thousands of people as they come to the knowledge of salvation and accept Him as Savior. There He forgives their sins and gives them eternal life, they know where they are going and the power of death is taken away.
Death is declawed and becomes our friend ushering us into the glorious presence of our Lord. How many have you helped to know this kind of peace?How many have you brought to the Healer? How many have you helped to know the All Mighty Jesus?
This is our calling, our job as the New Testament church; it is the reason for our very existence.What would KFC be without chicken?What would McDonalds be without burgers?Or Pizza Hut without pizza?What is a church without reaching the lost?Simply put, not a church.
Jesus Built a Following, Verse 25
It’s all about people.It has always been about people.It will always be about people.Jesus came to save sinners and to offer redemption to those who had been cut off from the Living God by their sins. We need to reach the people; reach the lost, go to them.Notice that Jesus went where they were. He met their physical needs and then their spiritual needs. Maybe we can learn something here as New Testament churches.
Maybe we have the cart before the horse in that we are trying to meet spiritual needs before meeting physical needs.Today a lot of people don’t need physical healing because we have good hospitals.Either way, it is God who does the healing. But there are a lot of lonely people out there, a lot of hungry people and a lot of people who simply don’t fit into this world.
These are the people Jesus came to call; these are the ones that Jesus started with when His ministry began.Jesus befriended the outcast, the poor, the sick, the needy and the castaways of society.The King of the Jews did not come to the aristocrats of his day.He was and is still the King of the lowly and humble. Maybe our churches need to reflect more of these types of people.
Today 2000 plus years later, the Jesus movement is huge; global and yet there is still room for more and billions to be reached.Thank God for the men and women who still faithfully make the call to the lost, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Pastor, Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church