Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Speaking The Gospel
And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching.
Jesus taught everywhere, all the time. Jesus taught in appropriate settings, such as the synagogue, if they were available. But if they were not, he taught wherever he could. He taught the people who would listen to him and the people who would not—those who believed and those who did not. Often when people listened to him, they did not accept his authoritative teaching. If that was the case, then his authority over spirits was not seen much, due to their disbelief.
The people saw them going, and many recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.
Jesus taught because he had compassion on the people. The people had no direction, they didn’t know what was right or what was wrong. There had been so many teachings and so many “truths” that he needed to clarify what was right. He did this because he hated to see the people forsake God out of their ignorance.
Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
Jesus taught repentance and the gospel. Jesus taught that everyone had to be ready for the coming kingdom of God which would sweep out all wickedness. Therefore, the people needed to repent and be rid of any wickedness so the Lord would accept them. Also, they needed to believe the good news that Jesus was proclaiming—that he is speaking of the Law of God and the need for humility and prayer for the coming kingdom.
He entered the synagogue and began to teach. They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Jesus taught with authority. This doesn’t mean that he taught forcefully or loudly or commandingly. Rather, Jesus taught and those around him obeyed. He taught with the truth, not opinions. He taught as a King would—with a single, firm word, not many options. He taught with power—in that spirits would listen to him. Because of this authority, the people listened to him, for his teaching was proven more effective than the teaching the people were used to.
"To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE."
Jesus taught in mystery. Because he saw that the people who were following him around had no interest in actually obeying his teaching, he would teach in stories and allegories that only made sense to those who listened carefully to his teaching. The stories repeated the same things his clear teaching taught, but it hid them so only those who understood his teaching could understand the stories. The stories were sometimes used to illustrate, but more often than not, they were used to confuse the listener. If the disciples were confused, they asked him directly what they meant.
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."
We are to announce the gospel. The same message that Jesus gave, we are also to give, to whomever would listen. And we are to do it everywhere, not excluding everyone, unless they indicate that they do not believe.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations..."
We are to make disciples. A disciple is one who sits at a teacher’s feet and memorizes the major teachings of the teacher. But we are not to teach our own ideas and words, as if we are the teacher. Rather, we are to teach the words of Jesus and so grant him the authority. Anyone who comes to follow us is actually a disciple of Jesus, not us.
Matthew 25:14-30; Mark 4:21-23
"For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light."
Jesus gave us his teaching to give to others, not to keep it to ourselves. The work we are to do is to give the gospel, however much we have received. If we only know a little, we should give what we know. If we know a lot, then we will be responsible for that amount. But we cannot hide it, or else we will be punished.
• Stephen was not established as an evangelist or a teacher—he was a deacon, a server of food. But when an opportunity came to teach the truth of Scripture and Jesus to his enemies, he did not hesitate. And so he died as a proclaimer of the gospel, not as a food server.
• Peter Valdez was a merchant, not a teacher. But when he read the word of Jesus, he realized that if fisherman and tax collectors could be teachers, so could merchants, cobblers, butchers, farmers and other workers. He taught the gospel to all who would hear and sent them out to announce the same to others.
• John Wycliffe was a professor at Oxford. But he realized the truth of the gospel was for everyone, not just his paying students. So he taught the gospel to the poor and sent them out to proclaim the gospel to others.
Living It Out
• Learn the gospel of Jesus—sit at his feet and learn from him. Read the gospels, read Paul, understand the depth of the love of God and his work and then you will be ready to proclaim.
• Announce Jesus’ words, not your own. We are to teach God’s truth, not our own opinions or the opinions of others.
• Tell what you know—don’t guess. If someone asks you a question and you don’t really know, say, “I don’t know.” Only say what Jesus gives you.
• Proclaim the gospel to whoever will listen. If they don’t want to listen, then stop. If they just think your teaching is entertaining, but don’t follow it, then teach in mystery.
• Practice what you teach and teach what you practice. If we speak and don’t live, we are a hypocrite. If we live and don’t speak, we are a mystery. Allow the teaching of Jesus to be consistent in your words and life.
• Don’t make anyone pay for the gospel. Give it away, all the time, in whatever form.
• When you teach, pray. When God answers the prayer, thank him and give him the glory. If God never answers your prayer, look and see if what you teach or how you live is consistant with Jesus’ teaching.