Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program

     It is good to be together again as we look into the Word of God and can make personal application and share the truths of the Scriptures with others. The title for the lesson is, “Teaching, Preaching, Healing,” and the text is in the New Testament, the gospel of Matthew chapter four verses 23 to 25. Listen to the Word of God.

     Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness among the people.  News about him spread all over Syria and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon possessed, those having seizures and the paralyzed and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. This is the Word of God. May he add his blessing to the public reading of is Word.

     The gospel writer Matthew in our text focuses on Christ’s words, that is, his teaching and preaching and on Christ’s works, his healing. These words and works of Jesus Christ in large measure exhibited and established his deity as the Son of God and as Messiah King, sent to Israel but also sent into the world to redeem mankind from its sin.  The three main aspects of Christ’s minister were teaching, preaching and healing.  And these three remain so to this day through the Scriptures and by the will of God. 

     In Matthew chapter four and verse 23 it says: Teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease.  So what is the difference between teaching and preaching?  Even as these are distinguished today in the Church. Teaching focuses primarily on imparting, here, God’s spiritual truth in all of its principles, precepts, promises and prophecies. Teaching is to reach people for understanding, to pass on information. In Jesus’ day synagogue teaching of Old Testament Scriptures was generally expository, meaning that Scripture was read and then explained, passage by passage, usually, of course, even phrase by phrase, word by word. Expository teaching today, as we are doing in this teaching lesson, is still superior, because it gets us into the actual meaning of the texts that we are looking at, that we are studying and making application of God’s will and words to us, not just as an overview, not just connecting other similar verses together, but also digging deeper into the Word before us, exposing the meaning to teach us to exercise it as applicable to us.
     Preaching goes even a step deeper. Its focus is to impart God’s will to derive a personal response from the hearers, a commitment from the content of God’s Word, to proclaim God’s teaching for action. We need both teaching and preaching, competently and clearly, of God’s Word and will.  Christ’s teaching and preaching was and is with authority.  As the King James Version reads, as someone said, regarding Jesus, quote:  No man spake like this man, end of quote.

     And so revealed his deity. It revealed his messiahship, sent from God to mankind. And today millions still revere and follow Christ’s teachings, his testimony. And as we, his ambassadors should share Scripture with skeptics and unbelievers for their own consideration, for their own reading and study, even as the Holy Spirit convicts and convinces.

     Jesus Christ was also healing every disease and sickness among the people. This is elaborated on in Matthew chapter four and verse 24 where it says, in part: Suffering severe pain the demon possessed, those having seizures and the paralyzed and he healed them.  In the first century AD as well as today in the 21st century AD, we should remember physical suffering originally started because of sin, because of the sin of mankind, rebellion, disobedience of mankind, of the human race. And we have all sinned. We are all guilty of sin and rebelled against God.

     Genesis chapter three and verse 19 reminds us by the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken, for dust you and to dust you will return. This was the penalty the judgment of God because of the sin of Adam and Eve to which we have also all because of our sin nature inherited from our original parents the headship of the human race Adam and Eve, we still also sin and rebel against God.

     However, there are many reasons for physical suffering, for illness and sickness and disease. For example, we suffer and have disease and ultimately death unless we are alive when the Lord comes in the air, due to our bodies breaking down and our own foolish, unhealthy habits. Sometimes suffering comes as God’s discipline and punishment as he chastens us in our sin.  But even beyond our sin, beyond our ignorance and errors in judgment, even God’s discipline, or even just the fallen nature of our bodies, consider the gospel of John chapter nine and verse three, where Jesus said: Neither this man nor his parents sinned.  But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.  That is, in this unique situation it was to bring glory to Jesus Christ as the Son of God when he was on this earth at his first coming through the miraculous healing of a man blind from birth. Christ’s healing ministry that never failed and that was always complete and also, of course, was divine verification and validation of who he was and is. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, deity in bodily form according to Colossians chapter two and verse nine, that Jesus of Nazareth was and is Messiah King sent to Israel, sent to the world to be the King of kings and Lord of lords of all the nations, sent from God the Father to planet earth, to mankind as he, Jesus Christ, even became one of us in his incarnation. Except for sin, Jesus Christ was like us.  And Christ’s healing ministry was predicted and prophesied along with his teaching and preaching.
     Consider the gospel of Luke chapter four and verses 18 and 19 as Jesus said of himself: 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.  Here Jesus Christ quoted in part from the Hebrew prophet Isaiah chapter 61 and verses one and two.  And then in Luke chapter four and verses 21 Christ stated, in part: Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. And so Jesus came teaching and preaching and healing as the three major components of his public ministry at his first coming.

     The evangelist Matthew in our text detailed three major categories of affliction to which Jesus healed them all. First, the demon possessed, those with spiritual affliction. Secondly, those with seizures, mental or nervous system affliction. And, thirdly, those that were paralyzed, physical affliction with a wide range of crippling disabilities.  And Jesus healed them all.  Besides proving his deity, Jesus Christ healing ministry showcased God’s compassion toward those who suffer.

     Even today God can heal miraculously according to his will and purposes. Yet the healing miracles Jesus performed while on the earth were primarily temporary, authenticating signs and wonders, especially to Israel that her Messiah had come, that his kingdom was at hand.

     Note Hebrews chapter two and verses three and four. It says, in part: This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit. And so God validated, verified that Jesus of Nazareth was, in fact, is, in fact, Messiah, the Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Son of God.

     Matthew chapter four and verse 25 says that large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. Decapolis simply means the 10 cities, these predominantly 10 Gentile cities. Great multitudes of people came to hear Christ’s teaching and preaching to wherever Jesus was. And also, of course, to be healed. Undoubtedly, there were many, many also that probably came simply out of curiosity. Jesus became famous. He was a great rabbi, like no other rabbi ever before who could teach and preach and heal miraculously. And millions down through the centuries and continuing even to this day seek to hear Christ’s teaching and preaching as preserved and recorded in Scripture. Many today also seek healing.

     Today Jesus Christ can heal physically. Jesus Christ, God, can heal through doctors and medicine and procedures and surgeries and all of the rest. But Christ’s main mission has always been to heal the soul, the inner person, which is through obedient faith in him, but by the grace of God, the undeserved favor of God toward mankind, because God wishes that none would perish, but that all would come to repentance.

     And in Ephesians chapter two verse four and following it says, in part: But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. And so won’t you, dear listener, if you have not already, receive Christ through faith and be healed on the inside?  Or if you are a Christian and perhaps have broken fellowship with God, backslidden because of sin, won’t you confess and repent and restore fellowship with the living God? Or if you are in Christ and living for the Lord, we all need to grow and mature in Christ Jesus.  And always remember to share only Jesus saves.  May we continue to share as ambassadors for Christ.


       David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ in Sellersburg, IN.