Preaching The Word

July 21, 2017
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Mark 1:38 – Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else — to the nearby villages — so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." (NIV)

I would love to have heard Jesus preaching in any of the synagogues that He visited during His lifetime. What we have in the gospels is only the tip of a whole mountain of messages that Christ must have preached to His people all over Galilee and Judea. We know that He always attended worship each week, so in the preceding days, Jesus must have prepared what He was going to say. I would also have liked to watch Him do that, and pick up a few new methods of fully preparing a sermon. He didn't have the books or devices that I have to help me research the Scriptures for a Sunday message, but I'm certain that His illustrations and interpretations of God's Word must have been amazing and life-changing for His listeners.

The purpose of preaching is to help people understand and apply the salvation history of God. It's not about being entertained or charmed by the charisma of the preacher; it's about being confronted with God's Word and becoming connected to God's Spirit. This makes preaching a controversial form of communication, instead of it being a comfortable expression of faith. I know many preachers who, like myself, often struggle with the Bible passages that they preach on Sundays. They don't want to offend anyone or disappoint someone, but in the end, preachers need to preach what God places on their hearts. A good sermon comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.

I think that this is also why some of Christ's major conflicts took place in the synagogues where He preached. His message was both traditional and radical, authoritative and demanding. Perhaps, if I had been in one of those synagogues where Jesus preached, I might have been offended, too. I know this much: He certainly would have challenged me, as He still does today.

Points to ponder: Have I ever heard a sermon or read a devotional that changed my life? Has my understanding of the purpose of sermons and devotionals changed?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your Word is always alive and relevant, as well as challenging and resourceful. Open our hearts and minds to receiving, embracing, and applying the messages that You give to us through preaching in these days. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    So true John.

    Thank you for this very thoughtful devotional.

    Thanks, John, for sharing this devotional with us. Blessings.

    Thank you, John, for this message. When I read one of your devotionals, I often wish I could hear you preach.

    Thanks for this. I am fortunate to have been both challenged and nourished by good preaching and teaching right from the time I was reborn!
    Thanks for your timely words.

    Another great message! Well done. Perhaps another point to Ponder.
    Jesus is the only preacher who NEVER apologized for what He said.
    Would it be that we could be the same!
    Blessings in the name of Jesus.

    Your devotional re Jesus ‘planning His messages’ seems to tie in with what I read this morning in John 12:50 where Jesus said very clearly.. “….So whatever I speak I am saying (exactly) what my Father has told Me to say…” (The Message).
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could say those same words with the same assurance and confidence as Jesus whenever we are presenting a message?

    Good day John. I do so enjoy these Devotionals. Thank you for your time and work doing them. You are right about being challenged and convicted.
    Told some at church one day I don’t come out feeling good I come out with a knot in my stomach because I got the message and realized how far short I fall, how I have done wrong and I have a lot to do to get to where he wants me to be, so don’t get to comfortable feeling good! Thanks for your words. Continued blessings.

    Dear John,
    I have to go fishing for the Holy Spirit to lead me when I stand up, despite what I have prepared because it only becomes “real” when I am connected!
    I know, God stirs me up to stop me taking life for granted, because I want to stay real with God, preaching or not.
    God’s Word is living and active, not everyone feels comfortable with God talking directly to them, as you have implied.
    Good job, it keeps us on our toes.

    Thanks John for the thought provoking message today.
    One must listen to and hear the message before the Word can do its work. Fortunately we all have different learning styles so it makes sense that every preaching style has its place – the critical factor is sticking to preaching the Word.
    What a glorious blessing the Word is to our world. How blessed we all are to have free access to it!
    Thanks for encouraging us to read it and hear it. Lots to think about today.

    Thank you, John, for your thought provoking Devotional.

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