MATTHEW 4:12-25 PROCLAMATION — EXPLANATION — DEMONSTRATION
"Jesus did not fit the stereotypical messianic molds with military and political power but He was powerful enough to conquer Satan in the wilderness, universal enough to include both Jews and Gentiles in His messianic gospel, authoritative enough to transform simple men into leaders of a movement that changed the course of history, and effective enough to attend to the basic needs of the people — body, soul and spirit." (Michael Wilkins – The NIV Application Commentary on Matthew) Hallelujah, what a Savior!
As peaceful looking and as beautiful as the area is around the Sea of Galilee, the people were living in darkness. “Beautiful people’ and the beautiful places they live today are also in darkness without "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6) We must see our lost friends as blind people with a cane stumbling through life bumping into and hurting others and themselves. They are not as happy as they appear.
And thus like Jesus we too must be about proclamation, explanation and demonstration of the kingdom of God. All three are necessary.
1) Proclamation — "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near." A new king and a new kingdom is now at hand — not the kingdom of Rome or Egypt or Babylon or Assyria under which the Jewish people had suffered for so long, but the kingdom of God. Entrance into this kingdom is through faith and repentance – from ultimate trust in and allegiance to any king other than the One true God. This kingdom was inaugurated by Jesus and all who will may enter in. And for all who reject King Jesus there will be the wrath of God and eternal punishment. Many of the Jews misunderstood the nature of this kingdom which had been prophesied years before (2 Samuel 7:11-16) and believed it to be the restoration of the Jews to political and military power and freedom from the various earthly kingdoms that had oppressed them. But as Jesus said later, "My kingdom is not of this world". (John 18:36) Many people today also have their wrong expectations of both judgment/discipline and restoration/reward, i.e., on the one hand, no fear of God since He doesn’t clearly punish us for sin today on a one to one basis (i.e., the wicked prosper) and/or the wrong expectation of the prosperity gospel of material blessings now. The kingdom of God is now, but not yet in the full sense of both judgment and reward. In sharing the gospel we cannot exclude the demanded obedience and loyalty to the Lord and the consequences of eternal punishment for those who reject God’s free, but costly (the life of His Son), gift of salvation. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment. (John 16:8)
2) Explanation — "teaching in their synagogues". (Also see Matthew 5-7 — the Sermon on the Mount and other discourses (teachings) by Jesus). We need to be under the teaching of God’s Word to grow. And although we are not all called to teach the Scriptures in a formal sense we are all called to grow and mature and be able to pass on the truths of Scripture to our family and friends. Hebrews 5:11-14 "We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."
3) Demonstration — "healing every disease and sickness among the people". Jesus demonstrated the arrival of the good news of the kingdom by meeting the needs of the people. Jesus is still in the healing and deliverance ministry today as well as meeting all the basic needs of the people around us: food and shelter, love and acceptance, meaning and purpose. As we reach out to others to be the hands and feet of Jesus and meet the needs of those around us, we must also share the gospel which is God’s provision in Christ to meet their greatest need, eternal life, a new and meaningful life now, and the promise of eternal blessings forever.
Matthew 5:14-16 ""You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." We shine our light for Christ as we 1) proclaim the gospel of the kingdom, which calls people to a decision: to accept or reject Jesus the king of Kings. No decision is a decision to reject Him; 2) explain (teach) the gospel, and 3) demonstrate (serve the needs of others) the gospel just like our Lord Jesus did.
"WE ARE NOT CALLED TO BE KEEPERS OF THE AQUARIUM BUT FISHERS OF MEN." (REV. E.V. HILL)