Listen to this devotional:
Matthew 4:23 – Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (NIV)
Many years ago, I was a leading a Bible study in Scotland in someone's home, and the house group was looking at this passage from Scripture. During the meeting, it struck us that Christ's strategy for ministry was totally encompassed in this one verse. All that He accomplished, He did through teaching, preaching, and healing.
At the end of the study, we came up with what we thought was a snappy slogan for our church's ministry: teach the truth, preach the gospel, and heal the people. It sounded so simple, and we thought it would inspire us each day. For a few months, I placed the slogan in the church pulpit to remind me on Sundays what faith was all about. It seemed like a good idea and fitted the times.
These days, we appear to be living in a different world. Many think that there are no absolutes, so how can we be teaching the absolute truth? Everybody has their own individual ideas about what's good and bad, right and wrong, true and false. There are new "gospels" being re-discovered throughout the world, so which "gospel" do we preach? And then there's the fact that so many people are broken and wounded in our society, how can we find enough resources to heal the world?
I guess the older I get, the more complicated the world becomes. What appeared to be so simple years ago, now seems outdated, quaint, and naive. Teaching, preaching, and healing get harder every year. Churches are more into cutting-edge communications, strident commercialism, and the quest for completeness. Instead of having a simple message, we want a lifestyle series to bring us success; instead of listening to Christ, we want to give equal room to our own opinions; and instead of helping the world get better, we are more interested in making things better for ourselves.
But perhaps it has been that way all along. Perhaps Jesus cut through all the complicated parts of life to show us that simple ways, simple words, and simple works are all that matters. I guess that in the end, it's not going to be what we do in life that will be important; at the close of our lives, it's still going to be Christ's teaching, preaching, and healing that will get us through all of our days and restore us to God's everlasting love.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, teach us Your truths — those precious things that have stood the test of time and will endure forever. Preach to us Your gospel, so that we may be saved from our sins and forgiven of all our faults. And heal us of all that harms us in body, mind, heart, and soul, so that our spirits may be united to You forever. Amen.