Journey Through the New Testament – Day 10 – Today our scripture comes from Matthew 4:23-35 – “Jesus Preaches throughout Galilee”
Yesterday we read how Jesus started gathering his disciples. The first 4 were Peter, Andrew, James and John. Jesus ended up having 12 disciples go with him. They walked with him, talked with him, learned his teachings, listened to his preaching and watched him perform miracles. They were in training … they would continue to carry on his teachings and the hope of the gospel.. they didn’t realize just how short his time on earth was. I often wonder, if they knew just how little time they had with Jesus would they have listened just a little closer? Been just a bit more attentive? Persecution of the Christians has been around since the beginning of time and continues today. I heard a story recently about a preacher who went to China and spoke with 22 people in a small room. 18 had went to jail for their Faith. If they found him there they would send him home but the citizens would go to jail. He only had 15 bibles so he passed them out and told them to share. One woman gave hers to another. He didn’t understand why? And then as they were reading scripture he realized, she had it memorized. He spoke to her later and she said that she had a lot of time in jail to memorize the scripture. He said “Yes, but don’t they take your bible if they find it?” She said “Yes, so friends write scripture on paper and bring it in to me and I memorize it as fast as I can before they find the paper.” This isn’t 2,000 years ago – this is happening TODAY in Communist countries. We have gotten so spiritually fat and happy that we go to church when we feel like it, and only if we don’t have to drive more than 15 or 20 minutes. They walk for miles. We really only want to go to church with soft seats and heat/air – they sit on dirt floors for days with no air conditioning just to hear the gospel preached. Just to be taught the scripture. So like the disciples who didn’t realize they only had a short time with Jesus – what if you only have a short time to continue to endure the freedom of a bible in your home? Would you read it more? Would you memorize it more? I’ve been saying lately the quickest way to get a rebellious nation to pick up their bibles is to tell them they can’t.
**Jesus was teaching, preaching and healing.. these were the 3 main aspects of his ministry. Teaching showed Jesus’ concern for understanding and wisdom. Preaching showed his concern for commitment. And healing shows his concern for wholeness. His miracles of healing authenticated his teaching and preaching, proving that he truly was from God. Jesus soon developed a powerful preaching ministry and often spoke in synagogues. Most towns that had 10 or more Jewish families had a synagogue. The building served as a religious gathering place on the Sabbath and as a school during the week. (So this was technically the first Christian schools) The leader of the synagogue was not a preacher, but more of an administrator. His job was to find and invite rabbis to teach and preach. It was customary to invite visiting rabbis like Jesus to speak.
Jesus preached the gospel – THE GOOD NEWS – to everyone who wanted to hear it. The Good News is that the Kingdom of Heaven has come, that God is with us, and that he cares for us. Christ can heal us, not just of physical sickness, but of spiritual sickness as well. There’s no sin or problem too great or to small for him to handle. Jesus words were good news because they offered freedom, hope, peace of heart and eternal life with God.**
I’m so glad you are with me on this journey, digging in to the word of God. Be blessed and have a great day!
**Taken from the Life Application Study Bible