DUNCAN/Proclamation and healing
Please turn in your Bible to Matthew 4:23-25. In this passage, Matthew turns his attention to the teaching and proclamation of our Lord as he gives us a summary of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. He provides an outline in these verses of what Jesus did and the response to his ministry. Specifically, there are four things that we learn about Jesus’ ministry in this passage. First, we learn about the pattern of Jesus’ ministry. Then, we see the people’s response to Jesus’ ministry. Next, we learn about the message of Jesus’ ministry. Finally, we see the proof of Jesus’ ministry.
I. The Pattern of Jesus’ Ministry.
In verse 23, Matthew tells us three things about Jesus’ ministry. First, Matthew tells us that Jesus went about teaching in the synagogues. Jesus preached the message of the gospel of the kingdom everywhere he went. But in the synagogues, He was able to teach about that message, showing how it was rooted in the Old Testament, showing how it flowed out of God’s covenantal promises, and showing how it was consistent with God’s revelation which He had given by Moses and by the prophets. Jesus’ purpose there was to instruct the hearts of the people that they might know that His message was a scriptural message.
Secondly, he says that Jesus went about preaching the Gospel of the kingdom. Jesus’ purpose in that preaching was not merely to inform the mind or even to instruct the heart. His purpose was to exhort the will of men and women to commit themselves to Him. He not only wanted them to learn something, He wanted them to do something. This reminds us that when we have embraced the Gospel, we not only believe it cognitively, but it impacts our lives, and it reflects itself in our lives.
Thirdly, Matthew says that Jesus went about healing all their diseases. Jesus’ healing ministry showed that God’s redemption is a redemption of the whole man. God’s redemptive plan is a plan to renovate the entire world and to renovate us body and soul. And Jesus’ ministry of healing points to the fact that God is not only concerned with the saving of souls but of the ultimate redemption of our bodies.
II. The People’s Response to Jesus’ Ministry
In verses 24-25, we read that the news about Jesus spread throughout all Syria and they brought to Him all that were ill. It is important to notice three things about the response to Jesus’ ministry. First, Jesus’ ministry was so noteworthy, that news about it spread all around, even north towards Syria. Secondly, notice that people began bringing to the Lord Jesus their sick and their diseased. And in His compassion, the Lord Jesus healed them. Thirdly, in verse 25, we read that large crowds began and continued to follow Him in His ministry. People from all over Israel and even from the outside were coming to see and to be healed by the ministry of the Lord Jesus.
There is a great message in this passage for us. For though there were large crowds following our Lord at the beginning of His ministry, we know that at the end of His ministry everyone had deserted Him, even His own disciples. And that reminds us that there were people in these crowds and perhaps people who were healed by the Lord Himself, who did not go on with the Lord Jesus until the end. They turned their back on Him for whatever reason. Perhaps in the crisis of their lives, they trusted Jesus temporarily, and yet they forgot Him later. Friends, seeking out Christ in a time of need and forgetting Him after that time of need is over says something about our hearts. We must remember that God’s work is not done until our hearts are brought under the Lordship of Christ.
III. The Message of Jesus’ Ministry.
In verse 23, Matthew tells us that Jesus was proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel of the kingdom of heaven was Jesus’ emphasis in His preaching. And note that there are two parts of the message that Jesus was teaching. Specifically, Jesus was preaching the gospel and preaching about the kingdom of heaven. The gospel is good news to those who are repentant. Jesus had already preached that we must repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Jesus knew that men had to acknowledge that they needed Christ and of His own saving work, that they were condemned by their sins, and were at enmity with God. But He also added that those who repent will find that God has done a work of grace in order to show His mercy to them. And so, the first part of Jesus’ message is good news. It is good news to those who have repented. The Christian message is for those who have found that they cannot earn their way back into fellowship with God. The Christian good news, the Christian gospel, the gospel of the kingdom, is for those who know that they are hopeless without Christ.
Jesus also preaches that it is the good news of the kingdom of heaven. Matthew uses three synonymous phrases throughout his gospel which include “the kingdom”, “the kingdom of heaven”, and “the kingdom of God.” These different phrases refer to the rule of God. The gospel tells us that God has saved us by grace, but the gospel works grace out in us by establishing God’s lordship in our lives. Gospel acknowledgment of God’s lordship is when we come to realize that we do not own ourselves but that God owns us. Jesus’ message of the good news of the kingdom stresses both God’s grace in our salvation and the rule of God in our lives.
IV. The Proof of Jesus’ Ministry.
In verse 23, we read that Jesus was healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. These miracles provide proof that Jesus is the Son of God and promised Messiah in the Old Testament. They were also proof of the divine stamp of approval of the gospel message which Jesus preached. It is also important to notice the universal character of these healings. Jesus healed all people regardless of race or nationality and so showed Himself to be the Savior of the world. And this is a lesson for us because there is nothing in our experience outside of Jesus’ reign. Sometimes the Lord answers us in glorious prayer, sparing us from disasters. Other times the Lord Jesus determines to call us home and heal our bodies in glorification. But Jesus is the only one who can heal body and soul. If you have never trusted in Jesus and if you have never rested in Him, do so today. Trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Come to Jesus whose message is the good news of the kingdom and who has power to bring completion to that message.