Getting Up (Matthew 8:14-15)

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Time in Capernaum allowed that Jesus could stay at Andrew and Peter’s  house. Mark  records, “As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.” Matthew is much more succinct in his report, writing, “When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.” 

We know that where Jesus traveled (in His early ministry especially), crowds of disciples followed. Mark’s account allows that we know that James and John were there, and in all likelihood so were Peter and Andrew, and probably many more. Yet in spite of their numbers, the future apostles and early disciples are not yet Spirit-filled, so they can’t address Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever themselves. Later, Jesus will give them authority to heal, and later still give them His Spirit to so act. But for now, they are limited to telling Jesus about her, which they apparently do immediately. 

It is to the disciples credit that they did speak to Jesus about Peter’s mother-in-law. We should talk to God about the needs of all we encounter. Talking to God about a matter is always useful, no matter how spiritually immature we may be in the Kingdom of God. Our dialogue with Him (our prayers) are always powerful – not because there is power in our words or because God owes us a response, but because there is power in the One we speak to, and it is in His nature to be merciful.

Hearing of the need, Jesus does respond. A miracle takes place. Peter’s mother-in-law is healed. Yet as far as we know, no words were said during that miracle. Jesus just touches her. Her fever leaves. More than that, her strength to serve immediately returns.

Long before this happened, the Psalmist wrote, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. […] My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 

your eyes saw my unformed body.”  God makes each person and knows every hair on their head. It is He who forms each one, and He knows everything there is to know about each of us. So it is a very small thing indeed for Him to heal. He does not even have to speak. A simple touch from Him is enough, both to heal, and to strengthen.

Scripture leaves to the imagination what the lasting impact of Jesus’ touch was on Peter’s mother-in-law. But one doesn’t need much imagination to picture her following Jesus with the other women who followed Christ, even to standing there at His crucifixion years later. God’s touch is impossible to forget, though the fever and weakness it removed be long forgotten. 

To think that a a life could be so dramatically changed for the better merely because the disciples noted to Jesus that this lady was lying down ill – that a life was so changed just because they mentioned it to Him – is astonishing. But so it is. Our conversation with God often has much more of an impact than we could imagine. Because God does hear us, and because God is merciful.


Spiritual submission is spreading my case before the Lord and asking Him to deal with it as He sees best.

AW Pink

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Who are you bringing to God in prayer? What do you think God will do in response? 

Building Wisely

This is a message given to Essex Baptist Church on Sept 13th, 2020. It has a personal application of the point at the end.

Dawn (Matthew 8:13)

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Luke’s account of the interaction between the centurion and Christ has two  notable  additional details. Firstly, that the centurion himself was not actually with Jesus during it, but speaking through proxies. Luke writes, “The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.” And when Jesus does go with those proxies, Luke records, “He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” 

Secondly, Luke adds that the centurion was known to be a kind and gracious man. Though he was obviously not a convert to Judaism, the elders plead with Jesus, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 

Luke’s additional details make the story of the centurion even more compelling. For though it is a great act of faith to ask for an extraordinary blessing personally, it is a greater act of faith that he sends others to ask Jesus on his account, expecting that the reported answer will be enough. Moreover, though it is astonishing that a Gentile would have faith to see Jesus as Lord, it is even more astonishing that this man exercises that faith before even hearing about Jesus by being kind, compassionate and generous to those who would’ve considered him a foreigner (at best). 

So it is with every fact of Scripture and with every miracle of God. There is something of God’s transcendent nature that gets transposed into what He is doing and into whom He is working through. The result is that the more you dig into the matter, the more it is revealed as deeper and more magnificent than you first thought it to be. God Himself is never less than you suppose He is, and neither is His Word or His action. They are always more, never less. 

That fact means that our faith in Him is always surpassed by His grace to us. Indeed, our faith in Him cannot be greater than He is, for He is both the answer to our faith and the source of our faith. 

Understood as such, it is almost not a surprise that Matthew writes at the conclusion of the centurion’s account, “Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.”  

For the centurion, the moment Jesus spoke, it was. He did not have to wait to see the result, as Abraham did to see Isaac born in response to the promise, or Isaac did to see Jacob born in response to prayer. He did not have to go and do something first, as Naaman the Syrian did after speaking to Elisha or the servants who needed wine needed to do in filling jugs and taking some to the banquet master. The centurion believed God was able to do even from a distance what only God could do, and he found that Jesus was even greater than that. 

Never live for the rare moments, they are surprises. God will give us touches of inspiration when He sees we are not in danger of being led away by them. We must never make our moments of inspiration our standard; our standard is our duty.

Oswald Chambers

APPLICATION: Intentionality

If such was the centurion’s faith, what of yours? Do you believe God will do what He has promised you? Wait then for it. Be assured He is greater than your faith in Him.  

Darkness (Matthew 8:11-12)

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Speaking to the crowd following Him, Jesus said, “I say to you that many  will come from  the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  What Jesus says here is a statement. It is not a parable. It is not a metaphor or a colloquialism. The parts of His statement contain such in order to illustrate the whole. But as a whole, it is a statement of fact about a particular time in the future. 

When He says, “I say to you,” Jesus is raising awareness of the importance of what He is saying. Recall how when Jesus was speaking about the fulfillment of the Law, He said, “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” “I tell you the truth” is a similar statement to “I say to you.” It is a statement that emphasizes the bluntness of His speech. It is a statement that calls the listener to pay particular attention, because the fact being explained is not going to go away.  Jesus wasn’t joking or spouting hyperbole. He was dead serious, just as when He said, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” 

He also says, “From the east and the west.” That was a common figure of speech meaning “all over the world”. As one commentator notes it’s understood meaning, “The parts of the rising and of the setting sun include the entire world, looking in the two opposite directions from where Jesus stands.”  And the feast Jesus spoke about was a commonly understood depiction of the blessing of the Kingdom of God, and that Jesus mentions “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” is a clear indication that He means the covenant people of God. 

Taken together, Jesus is saying that there is a time to come when people from all over the world (meaning Gentiles) will enjoy the blessing of the Kingdom of heaven, and at the same time those who thought they were God’s covenant people will find themselves excluded. Not just excluded, but damned. For “outside, into the darkness” means to be forever distanced from that place of blessing, and “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” was a commonly understood metaphor for hell. At the very least, it is a phrase built on Psalm 112, which not only speaks of the blessedness of the one who fears the Lord and finds delight in His commands, but also that, “The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away.” From this we can know that the damned shall not be immediately annihilated. They shall know that they are cut off from God, and they shall know darkness, sorrow and very great anguish. 

Jesus is hammering home the point that legalism – even if it is Jewish legalism – will not save. Nothing we can do will earn us a place in glory. Only those who repent and so call on the Name of the Lord are saved, as the prophet Joel had said, “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.”  That is a very serious fact with very serious consequences.

The joy of looking to God and exercising faith in Him are very great. The consequences of not looking to God, of not exercising faith, of trying to earn salvation by some other means – are likewise severe. 

No description can deal adequately with the gravity of God’s vengeance against the wicked—their torments and tortures are figuratively expressed to us by physical images—darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth, unquenchable fire and an undying worm gnawing at the heart. By such expressions the Holy Spirit certainly intended to confound all our senses with dread

John Calvin


Consider God’s great grace to you – HIs grace that enables you to avoid eternal damnation. His grace that tolerated your sin until you heard of Christ, His grace that awakened your dead spirit to hear of Christ, His grace that gave you the gift of a changed heart to repent, and His grace that forgave you, marked you with His Spirit, grafted you into His family and affords you a place at His table in eternity. 

Shock (Matthew 8:10-11)

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Jesus has just made a very pointed jab at the people of faith (the Jews) by  pointing out  that one of their occupiers (a Roman centurion) has more faith than they’ve demonstrated to date, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” No doubt those standing there were stunned. But before that statement can really even begin to sink in, Jesus makes it all the sharper, “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  

Remember that Jesus has just come down from the mountainside after preaching the Sermon on the Mount. With a “large crowd” following Him, He had met a leper, touched him and healed him. That was a scandal to the Jews. Jews were not supposed to touch unclean people. Coming to the city, a centurion had come and asked for help. Jesus was not put off by the fact that this man was the embodiment of the oppression the Jewish people felt. He promises to go and help. That was a scandal too. Then the centurion expresses humility and Jesus responds that He’s found no one in all Israel with such great faith. That would’ve been a deeply upsetting comment to those within earshot, who understood themselves to be the people of God. To them, the centurion would be – at most – a bit player in God’s glorious plan. But this last statement – about Gentiles coming from all over the world to take their places at the feast of celebration with the Jewish forefathers – this is unimaginable! Even worse, Jesus says that ‘subjects of the kingdom’ (meaning Jews themselves) will be cast out of the kingdom! There is no other way to see it. That is “off the chart” rude to the people standing around Him.

If He was trying to earn friends, Jesus is failing very badly. But Jesus is not trying to earn friends. He is shaking the people of God awake even as He moves to rescue the centurion’s household. His comments are only shocking to the lethargic and entitled. 

God’s people should’ve been more than ready for their salvation to arrive. Instead, Jesus found such a misinformed, legalistic and entitled group, He had to start His ministry with basic teaching instead of missional instruction. Even as He comes down from the mountainside, He finds outcasts and foreigners with more faith than the chosen people of God. It is no wonder He reacts so strongly, marveling at the centurion’s faith and sarcastically rebuking His own followers. 

Strangely, Matthew gives no indication of how the crowds reacted to Christ’s comments. 

Perhaps that is because their reaction was not helpful to either their cause or ours and to that point it was left out. More likely, it is because the Spirit of God desired to give the readers of Matthew’s Gospel room to grasp their own internal reaction, because Christ’s comments immediately pose the same question to us: Is our faith in the Lord we worship causing us to act accordingly, or are we sitting back letting our faith atrophy while we congratulate ourselves on being His followers? 

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

 the apostle John (1 Jn 5:14–15)

APPLICATION: Intentionality

What is the next step of faith God is calling you into? When will you take it?  

Faith (Matthew 8:8-10)

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The book of Hebrews gives us a definition of faith from God’s perspective, “Now faith is   being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” That certainty must be rooted in our understanding of who God is, because faith is not a self-manufactured product for us to create and apply as we so desire. It is not confidence in ourselves. It is confidence in the revealed character of God. Of that, even pagans know something, for Romans so testifies, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” 

From that we gain that even pagans know that God is eternal, that God is powerful and that God alone is God! So testifies the Roman centurion that Jesus is interacting with, “The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 

Every solider serves at the pleasure of their commanding officer. The commander tells the soldier to do something, and they do it. They have to do it, because not only is that the rule of the chain of command, but there are significant consequences to not doing it. In times of war, your life and the lives of those you serve with rest on whether or not you obey your commander. In times of peace, what your day and future look like rests on whether or not you obey your commander. So soldiers learn to obey, and commanders learn the responsibility of instructing correctly. The chain of command is effective and powerful. The centurion knew that, and he also knew that God alone is God, and that as God, He is absolutely sovereign. God is the top of the chain of command! So if God were to give a command, he could be assured it would be fully complied with. 

This centurion wasn’t a Jew and hadn’t grown up in synagogues, but nevertheless he has faith in what little he knows of God, and he acts on that faith. It isn’t much, but that is all God asks of those who follow Him. 

“When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” 

That Jesus makes such a comment is not only a solid affirmation of the centurion’s faith, but a resounding and very pointed jab at the community of faith represented by those who were following Him. For the centurion it is a compliment, but for the Jew it is a sarcastic comment; an outsider – an ostensively pagan outsider at that – has more faith than “the people of God”! 

Faith is not something we store up and show off once in a while like a treasure. It is something we act on. It is to our soul what inspiration is to our mind. It is to our body what oxygen is to our muscles. Either you use it and find yourself better off for having done so, or you disregard it and let it atrophy into uselessness.

Faith causes one to evaluate worldly realities in light of eternal realities.

David A. deSilva

Broken (Matthew 8:5-7)

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Jesus came to present salvation ‘first for the Jew’. One would think then,   that He would base His ministry in the capital city of Jerusalem. But He did not. One might think that because Jesus was born in Bethlehem, perhaps His birthplace would be a good ministry center – it’s also roughly in the center of the country. But He did not chose Bethlehem either. Knowing He spent at least a good portion of His childhood in Egypt and was of the line of Judah (a southern tribe), it would’ve also made sense if He based His ministry in the southern area. He did not. Of all the places He could’ve chosen, He made Capernaum His ministry center. Capernaum was a border city, in the very north of Israel on the border with Jordan. Being a frontier city, it would’ve had a garrison of Roman soldiers. This made it all but impossible to live there and not interact with the occupying Romans. Such interaction made the citizens of that city suspect as collaborators in the eyes of many Jews. 

“When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”” A centurion was a leader of a garrison (about 100 soldiers). That means this man is no ordinary Roman. He is not merely a citizen and so largely innocent of his country’s occupation of Israel. He is a solider of Rome, and a soldier who leads other soldiers in completing their mission. Even if he is kind and good to the Jews around him, he is the very definition of Israel’s occupier. Yet here he is, calling Jesus “Lord.” This is truly remarkable, for up to this point in Matthew’s Gospel account, only the leper had seen Jesus as Lord. 

Matthew is making a point. It bears pointing out that by teaching the people to follow the letter of the Law more than the spirit of the Law, the teachers of Israel had led the nation to the point where outcasts and foreigners could more easily recognize the Lord more than they could. Fortunately, Jesus does not teach as they had taught, and He does not act as they had acted. He is the Lord of all, and He purposes to grow the Kingdom of God among all. Consequently, He not only based His ministry close to foreigners (because Israel was supposed to be a light to all people), He actually practiced what He preached and what the Word taught regarding helping others as a demonstration and extension of God’s love. 

To that end Jesus Himself had preached, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Now we read of how He lived that out in His response to the centurion, “Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”” 

Not only does Jesus interact with the centurion, but He also agrees to his request and indicates He’ll go into his home. From a first-century Jewish perspective, this is worse than touching a diseased and unclean person (as He just did with the leper). For in this case He is violating both Jewish protocol (in entering a Gentile’s house) and Jewish ethics (in helping the representative of those persecuting the Jewish nation). 

Thankfully, Jesus is far more interested in demonstrating and growing the Kingdom of God by ministering to broken people than He is in following the protocols and mindsets that got the Jews so far from God to start with. It bears asking the question; “Are we likewise so focused?

Although we tend to think about saints as holy and pious, and picture them with halos above their heads and ecstatic gazes, true saints are much more accessible. They are men and women like us, who live ordinary lives and struggle with ordinary problems. What makes them saints is their clear and unwavering focus on God and God’s people

Henri Nouwen

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Jesus did not allow prejudice or the fear of seeing misunderstood stop him from bringing the blessing of God to all peoples. May we all be and act likewise. 

For Them (Matthew 8:4)

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When the Lord does a miracle, it is never for you alone. At the very least it  is a testimony  to those nearby of His care, His presence and His mercy. Perhaps it was for that reason that the Lord instructed Moses that whenever someone who was unclean was cleansed, a priest needed to examine them, a ceremony needed to be completed and an announcement needed to be made. Leviticus 14:1-32 details the lengthy and rather complicated process, involving two birds, three lambs, flour and oil. A guilt offering, a sin offering and a burnt offering must be made, and the cleansed individual must wash, shave and stay outside the camp for 8 more days. It was a very public act, deliberately done over time so that no one could miss what was happening. It was also a very structured event, so that no one could mistake it for something other than the Lord’s work. Miracles are never private favors. They are divine acts of power and providential grace, meant to bring much glory to God. They are never random, and never without purpose.

So when Jesus cleanses a leper, it is not a random event. It is not only for the diseased person’s personal betterment, and neither is it to be mistaken as a fluke, or anything other than an act of God. Like a glorious sunrise after a difficult evening, it is profoundly meaningful for those who see it, but it is for all, not just some. 

Matthew writes, “Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”  Matthew’s readers can clearly see that Jesus wanted the man to follow the instructions of Leviticus 14. “In conforming to the law, the cured leper becomes the occasion for the law to confirm Jesus’ authority as the healer who needs but to will the deed for it to be done.” After all, Christ Himself had said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Additionally, “Because the leprosy was looked upon, among the Jews, as a particular mark of God’s displeasure: hence we find Miriam, Gehazi, and Uzziah, smitten with leprosy for some one particular sin; and therefore Christ, to show that he came to turn away the wrath of God, by taking away sin, began with the cure of a leper.

So although it may look like a random act done in response to a random circumstance, it was actually a very deliberate act. It was done in response to God’s purposeful and providential circumstance. It was recorded by the Spirit of God in a very deliberate and purposeful way. Not only that, but we know that Jesus had performed miracles before (see John 2), so we can know that Matthew specifically records this miracle as His first for a reason; It was because Matthew is building a case for the Jewish reader to understand Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law, in accordance to what and how the Spirit instructed him (Matthew). Even its record in Scripture is deliberate, purposeful and strategically placed to bring glory to God!

Though the Lord’s work sometimes seems random, unclear and at times quite contradictory, He is none of those things. His ways are merely beyond our limited understanding. Time eventually reveals just how purposeful, straightforward and focused He always is. As Romans 8:28 proclaims, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”


Human reason may not be able to understand the mysterious ways of God, but faith knows that the sorest disappointments and the heaviest losses are among the “all things” which work together for our good.

AW. Pink

APPLICATION: Intentionality

What is the Lord strategically doing in this season of your life? How can you participate today in that?

Seeing (Matthew 8:2-3)

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Matthew records way back in chapter 4 that Jesus was, “…healing every  disease and  sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.” But to this point in Matthew’s account, we have not seen what that healing ministry looked like. Now, at the beginning of chapter 8, we have our first glimpse. 

A man comes to Jesus with a serious skin disease. Skin diseases range from temporary and short lived infections to long term debilitating conditions. Their typical manifestation as immediately obvious meant the victim was almost certainly ostracized, especially as Leviticus 13-14 speaks extensively about the ‘unclean’ nature of such diseases, and the required quarantine in Jewish culture. That quarantine could be a few days, or it could mean a lifetime of living outside the city walls. It is likely the man in this story had a very severe skin disease that was both obvious and debilitating, because He comes to Jesus of His own account and seemingly out of desperation. 

“A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.”

We tend to focus on the last six words, “he was cured of his leprosy.” On occasion, we make a formula out of it by focusing on what the man did. We note that the man came before the Lord, that He humbled himself before the Lord (kneeling down) and that He confessed that Jesus was Lord. Finally, he asked that he be healed if the Lord’s should will it. Yet all that focus belies our tendency to make this story about us – as though what we do and how we do it provides the mandate for Jesus to heal. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that this story is more about Jesus than it is about us. It is part of the revelation of who Jesus is and who the Father who sent Him is. If we look at the story from that perspective, we see that Jesus immediately reached for the man. We see that Jesus touched him even before He spoke to him – in fact, that Jesus is willing to touch the one no one else would touch! We hear Him say that He is willing. We listen as He speaks an impossible truth into existence, and only then do we see that the man is healed. 

It is true of course that this story is a story of faith in action. But the far greater thing is that God is real. That God really loves the unlovable. That God is reaching for the unredeemed even before they hear the sound of His Voice. That God is willing to rescue and redeem and heal. That God can and does speak impossible truths into reality. With only so much as a word from His lips, lives and eternities are changed!

If we see our world through our own eyes, we see only fault, limitation and brokenness. If we see ministry through our own eyes, we see only determination, action and works. If we see our world through God’s eyes, we see hope, wonder and restoration. If we see ministry through God’s eyes, we see compassion, supernatural power and miracle. 

Your real life is your own God-given opportunity to see the miracles he can accomplish through a weak preacher

Raymond C. Ortlund Jr.

APPLICATION: Intentionality

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Eph 4:16). 

What is your part in that work? 

Breaking In (Matthew 8:1)

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When Jesus completed His sermon on the mount, Matthew records, “When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.” That doesn’t sound so remarkable to the reader of Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus had large crowds before He spoke, and He had large crowds after He spoke. Both crowds followed Him, and both crowds consisted of diverse peoples. We know that because Matthew had previously told us, “Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.” That meant the crowd was made up of people from various cultures – Jews and Greeks and all manner of gentiles. Yet through the sermon, Jesus was effectively able to move the entire group closer to ultimate reality.

When they met Jesus, they saw the Kingdom of God breaking into their reality. Jesus was, “…healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.” That’s why they had gathered around Him to start with. A demonstration of God’s power will always gather a crowd. Everyone wants to see a healing, and everyone wants to get healed.

Now the Kingdom of God was going beyond what they were seeking and experiencing. It was breaking into their personal worldview. They recognized Jesus as one who teaches with authority; “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”

There is a progression to our awareness of the Kingdom of God. First you become aware that something is happening, then you realize it is happening to or around you. Perhaps you are physically blessed in some capacity. Perhaps you find a series of eerie coincidences that you know cannot just be coincidence. Then the Kingdom of God begins to break into your thinking. You become aware that Jesus is not just someone to be aware of, but someone to look into – someone to hear from. More than that, someone who teaches truth. More than that, that He is truth. That He is ultimate truth. Truth that changes everything. Truth that compels you to follow, because your reality has been altered, and that by God. 

This principle is applicable to every group of people. It is the principle by which Jesus drew individuals, families and communities into His Kingdom. It is how He demonstrated to a largely apathetic society that God was alive and cared for them: A demonstration of His power followed by a demonstration of His wisdom. Power first, wisdom second. Demonstrated power and wisdom (in that order) always results in changed worldviews and committed followers. 

If we are to impact our neighborhoods, we best remember Jesus’ methodology.  

“We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

the apostle Paul (from 1 Co 1:23–24)

APPLICATION: Intentionality

How do you those you seek to reach see Christ in you? Is there power before preaching, or preaching before power?