Sunday, July 14, 2013

Matthew 9:35-36 Jesus and ministry--our perfect example part 1

When I was a manager for a pizza place, I would occassionally train employees how to make pizzas or specifically how to get the pizza dough ready to make a pizza.  I had a specific process I would go through.  I would show them the process from beginning to end pretty quickly.  I then would go slowly, step by step, so they could see exactly what I was explaining.  Finally I would let them do it with my supervision.  Most of the time, the results were awful.  I was also evil back then and I would make them eat what they made.

My point, however, is that I showed they how to do something before I set them to do it themselves.  As we close out of the narrative portion of Matthew chapter 9, we prepare to move into Matthew 10 where Jesus sends out His 12 apostles to preach.  Obviously, the men He called as His apostles were not professional clergy.  Levi (Matthew) was a tax collector, Simon the zelot was probably like a solider or mercenary, James and his brother were fishermen.  These guys had never been missionaries and I think that's a good thing to remember as we read these two verses.  What Jesus did is what He was going to call them to do.  Therefore, it seems reasonable that He would demonstrate what He was going to call them to do.  What a privilege they had, to see God in human flesh minister and preach the gospel.

First of all, notice in verse 35 that Jesus went where the people were.  In churches, we're often encouraged to invite people to come to worship services with us.  Rightly so, I might add, because if you're in a good church no matter what is being preached the gospel is going to be proclaimed.  However, bringing people in so someone else can share the gospel is not what we're called to do.  We're called to go out and take the gospel to the people.  Jesus did just that.  He took the gospel to the cities with lots of people and to the vilages with smaller populations.  And being that if you got somewhere in that day, you walked, he must have done a ton of walking.  He didn't stay in some ivory tower posting thoughts on social media like a blog (ouch!), but rather He went out of His way to proclaim the life changing truth of the gospel.

Notice, what He did when He went from place to place.  As we continue to read verse 35, we see He taught in their synagouges.  Man, what I wouldn't give to have been a fly on that wall.  Can you imagine what a privilage that was--to hear the very God of the universe teaching.  And what grreat compassion it shows.  Jesus, being God in human flesh, could have commanded, or even demanded, obedience and then punished immediately anyone who wouldn't submit.  Instead, He came, took His time, and taught them.  What a kind, gracious, loving act for the Savior of the world to do.  And notice, He went to the synagouges--their houses of worship.  He went to the people who thought they were reglious, or wanted to know about God, and graciously gave them precious instruction in righteousness.

Notice, He also went around proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.  Now, we don't have recorded in this text verbatium what He said, but there is only one gospel.(Galatians 1:6-8) despite what some people like Brian McLauren and Rob Bell would have you believe.  There is no question that the gospel Jesus preached is the gospel that Paul preached and the gospel that John Wesley preached and the gospel that John Calvin preached.  God is holy and man is sinful.  Because of our sin, we deserve punishment, but for those who repent of their sin and place their faith in Chirst (or in the case of the people Jesus preached to, faith in what God had promised) God has promised to save them.  When we read in scripture the exhortations to go and proclaim the truth that Jesus saves, we can know that Jesus isn't asking us to do anything that He Himself didn't do first.

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