Leaving All for Jesus
Lord, today You are on my side, You are by my side, and You are my strength on the inside. Thank You, Lord.
Read MATTHEW 4:12-25
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“My Jesus, my Savior, / Lord, there is none like you. / All of my days, I want to praise, / the wonders of your mighty love” (Darlene Zschech).
“Jesus was universal enough to include both Jews and Gentiles in his messianic gospel, authoritative enough to transform simple men into leaders of a movement that changed the course of history, and effective enough to attend to the basic needs of the people ― body, soul and spirit” (Michael J. Wilkins). This quotation sums up perceptively what is going on in these 14 verses!
The province of Galilee was not large but was densely populated; it was an area that Jews looked down upon, deriding it as “Galilee of the Gentiles” (15). So Jesus has started his ministry in the sort of place where the orthodox would never have expected to find him, among crowds who lived alongside pagans. The light he brings reaches to all. Note his message: the kingly rule of heaven is approaching, so get ready, stop what you are doing, and do the opposite instead (17)! Four fishermen immediately respond to this challenge (18-22).
If we want to know more specifically what the gospel of the kingdom is, vs. 23-25 tell us. Jesus’ ministry involved three aspects: teaching, preaching the kingdom, and healing. He informed the mind with a view to changing the will, as someone once described teaching. He proclaimed the arrival of God’s reign. He healed every kind of illness. This aspect of kingdom ministry is sometimes sidelined, but the Church’s role is to embrace all three of these strands of ministry. Jesus is interested in the whole person. These healings were signs of the new thing that God was doing through Jesus. He is someone worth sacrificing our lives for, just as he did for us!
How are you working to extend God’s Kingdom in the world? Are Jesus’ priorities those that you hold dear? How is that evident? Is something more needed?
Lord, I want to be used by You, to touch lives for good and for the Gospel. In Your strength, Lord, may I be You to others.
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