[Jesus said to the Twelve]: “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came.” And He went throughout all
So the war campaign of Jesus continues. Though it may seem odd to speak of Jesus’ work in this way, the war description fits very well. There is a struggle that Jesus participates in, a contest which is more than a game. There are no neutral parties, no people who are disinterested or unaffected by the results. It is war of liberation, not conquest.
The same acts continue in the streets of
Once again, Jesus deposes what had held one of His people captive: disease and illness. And when news of where Jesus can be found reaches the people of
These events are part of Jesus’ redemptive work. His presence in the fallen world is dynamic as He carries authority and power which He uses to aid sinners. Those who are desperate for such aid go to meet Him, to be where Jesus can be found. They want what Jesus can provide. But what He has to give them is even greater than healing the sick or expelling unclean spirits.
The greater gift is alluded to in Jesus’ words on the morning after His preaching and healing in
Jesus’ words indicate two things. First, what He was doing was not meant for
So Jesus begins to fulfill His mission: “He went throughout all
The same liberating gospel is what Jesus brings to the synagogues, to the assemblies of
That is why the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians: “If I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! . . . I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” Paul tells his assembly that he must preach the gospel to them because he needs to fulfill the command given to him and they need the blessings that the gospel of Christ gives. And what are those blessings? They are the salvation which Jesus has earned and that He brings by His work done through the Church.
You have been given a share of those blessings as long as you believe what Jesus says and does. He knows that you need deliverance. For who in this place has not suffered from illness? Who hasn’t fallen victim to the wiles of Satan? Who hasn’t felt the dreadful impact that sin brings to personal lives and family ties and relationships? Who hasn’t had to bury their loved ones or explain to the young why there will be less people at Christmas or Easter or birthday celebrations? Who hasn’t had their own consciences accuse and condemn them?
Like the people in
And the Psalmist speaks of that same powerful, dynamic God providing aid to His people: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. . . . The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked to the ground. . . . His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.” What the Psalmist describes is what the compassionate acts of Jesus done in
In your guilt and your sorrow, your hearts are broken; but Jesus binds your wounds with His forgiveness and promise of eternal joy. In your contrition, you are humbled; but Jesus lifts you up to be heirs of heaven. In your weakness, you fail to be perfect in thought, word, and deed; but Jesus does not treat you according to your terrible measure of worthiness. Instead, He delivers what He has earned to you, as you hope and trust in His compassion and mercy. The desperate clamoring for what Jesus has—the gathering at the doors of His house on earth—is the reaction He wants of you. For then, He will speak and you will be healed, not in body, but in soul. And for all who have been made righteous in the sight of God, the blessed end of everlasting life with glorified and restored bodies awaits.
That is the blessing of Christ’s gospel which is meant for you. As you assemble in this house of Christ and believe His words and actions, it becomes yours and yours to keep. You are in the theatre of Christ’s operations of redemption. And it is meant for all whom you bring in their desperation to receive His work also. For all “those who fear Him, those who hope in His steadfast love” shall have the blessings of Christ’s gospel. It is theirs as He preaches it to them and they believe, just as it is was for the people of
T In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.