Jesus Heals the Sick
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 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. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,[g] Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
I have always wondered why there is such a "bad news" bias in the media. Why does bad news dominate the media? Is bad news more compelling than other stories? Do we feel better about ourselves when things are worse around us? While these reasons explain some of it, there is one I suspect drives this bias. "Bad news sells"! Particularly scandals about celebrities are among the top ratings for bad news. Also news about terror and natural disasters.
In contrast, Jesus' message was a proclamation announcing "Good News". We also use the word "Gospel", which is the same word for good news. So what was the Good News he preached and taught about? Throughout the 4 Gospels the clear and consistent message was that Jesus came to inaugurate the kingdom of God. He brought to earth what heaven looks like. He did not just preach about the kingdom, but taught it through what he did. So he preached,about it, he taught about it, and then importantly he demonstrated it. He demonstrated that in the kingdom God there is no sickness or disease. We might say he brought a "slice of heaven to earth". Notice he healed EVERY disease and sickness among the people. The result was that many people came and brought to him every type of disease and sickness, including those who were demon possessed. The result. People from every region around Galilee began to follow him.
How can seeing the main purpose of Jesus' mission and ministry inform what followers of Jesus should be about today?
First, it is worth noting that you will see throughout the gospel that Jesus was not only inaugurating the kingdom, he was equipping the disciples to do the same thing he was doing when he would leave them. So it makes perfect sense that we would also focus on kingdom advancing ministry. Of course, we ourselves do not bring in the kingdom. As Martin Luther said in the Small Catechism, "God's kingdom will certainly come, the question is will it come through us?" I believe "us" means the gathered people of God, the Church. Kingdom advancement is not primarily an individual endeavor, but the body of Christ using each person's spiritual gifts. As someone has said, "we all get to play"! God calls us and invites us to be a part of the most important mission of our day. God bless you as you help your church be a kingdom advancing church, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus, who enables the Church to do what he first taught the first disciples 2,000 years ago.