Preaching

Jesus was a preacher.
Paul and the other disciples were preachers, too. They had a message to deliver to anyone who might listen. People did listen to Jesus; some of the scenes are recorded in the Bible.

  • He would talk with a loud voice when He needed to be heard by many people from the crest of a hill or from a boat in a lake.
  • He could also speak softly to a Nicodemas who came to Him secretly at night and to a shy, thirsty woman at a well in Samaria in the middle of the day.
  • Sometimes His sermon was a dialogue as friends asked sincere questions and enemies tried to trick Him with words.
  • It was possible to interrupt Him and change the subject but He could not be silenced until He was done with His preaching.

In the Power of the Holy Spirit
He did all this preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit, not from some inexhaustible personal strength.

  • He said that He preached what the Father gave Him to say.
  • Sometimes the Holy Spirit would reveal to Him what was happening in the hearts of His listeners and those secret things were preached to the crowd. Preaching and secrets do not go well together.
  • No one who heard Him had ever heard anyone like Him before. Some people in the crowd compared His preaching to that of the religious leaders they were used to hearing. It was brutal. “He is not like the others we hear—He speaks with authority!”

Authority also came with His hands and the commands of His voice.

  • Things that just don’t happen happened with a shouted command or with a fleeting touch. Afflictions undid themselves.
  • Demons departed to parts unknown with great haste.
  • The best minds of the day were left speechless, as if they had been struck as dumb as the dumb had been set free to speak.

His actions were unconventional to say the least.

  • He ate with sinners and crooks and women of the streets.
  • He spoke freely to Roman soldiers as if He understood their authority.
  • He was afraid of no one yet He was not threatening to those who sought Him out; children thronged Him with laughter and running little feet to always find His lap and a friendly hug.

His sermons came from life.
Life went on around Him when He preached the Good News and He incorporated the details of life into His sermons: agriculture, fishing, public prayer—both true and false—the marketplace, family life, all found a place in His repertoire of illustrations. He told great stories, full of memorable characters, high drama, and poignant moral lessons. Often His meaning was clear to those who heard Him and the impact of His presence somehow validated the things He said. At other times His sermons confounded the people so much that His disciples would ask for private explanations.

His prayer life was private.
He was known to pray, off by Himself before the break of day. Somehow this gave Him the strength He would need to fulfill each day’s mission: souls to be touched, bodies to be healed, comfort for the distressed, and rebukes for the fakers. It is safe to say that no one walked the earth the way Jesus did.

The Disciples
Paul and the other followers of Jesus preached and performed miracles in the name of Jesus for He was with them—in them—by the power of the Spirit of God.

  • They needed no show to gather a crowd.
  • They desperately sought to disappear into the story they told—they knew there was no power in their names or in the touch of their hands and certainly not in the sound of their voices.
  • Jesus had called them to preach and now He was continuing His preaching through them.

Whether with words or with deeds, let Jesus be the story we tell today. Let His truth be seen in the work of our hands and let His song be heard in the music of our lives.

Scriptures:
Luke 4:18-19 NIV
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Mark 1:38 NIV
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else — to the nearby villages — so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NIV
When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, empower my life today to be a witness for You, a sermon preached in sweetness, in serenity, and in simplicity. May my words tell Your story, my actions illustrate Your life, and my attitudes reflect Your peace. You are my message today. Your praise is the song of my life. Holy Spirit, set my heart on fire with the truth about Jesus. As I live today, let me preach the Good News. Amen.

Song:
Our God Reigns
Words and Music: Leonard Smith

1. How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him
Who brings good news, good news,
Announcing peace, proclaiming news of happiness.
Our God reigns! Our God reigns!

Refrain:
Our God Reigns! Our God Reigns!
Our God Reigns! Our God Reigns!

2. He had no stately form, He had no majesty,
That we should be drawn to Him.
He was despised and we took no account of Him,
Yet now He reigns with the Most High.

Refrain

3. Out from the tomb He came with grace and majesty,
He is alive, he is alive.
God loves us so, see here His hands, His feet, His side.
Yes, we know, He is alive.

Refrain
Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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