THE GREATEST ALL-TIME PREACHER
The greatest all-time preacher was, of course, Jesus Christ. His messages came directly from God.[i] He couched them in eloquent stories that puzzled the masses who listened.[ii] Thousands rushed about the countryside looking for him. They forgot to take food for the long trip home, and Jesus miraculously fed them.[iii] Who is this man? They asked. We know his family![iv] And yet we heard John the Baptist![v] Can this be the deliverer, promised by our Scriptures to save Israel from our Roman oppressors?[vi] Even his disciples in the sinking ship asked fearfully, who is this man, that even the winds and waves obey him? [vii]
Yet the elite hated him. Blinded by jealousy they tried to kill him. Even the local synagogue at Nazareth,[viii] charmed by his words, turned against him, throwing him out. But it was not only jealousy, their hatred ran deep because he exposed their actions and hypocrisy.[ix] Who gave you authority? they demanded.
Jesus never explained his stories to the masses. [x] But afterwards, he told his disciples what they meant. There were, however, some things they never understood when he took them away to quiet locations for these intimate talks. He told them about his coming crucifixion[xi], about the end times when he would return in glory,[xii] and what he would be doing in the meantime: I go to prepare a place for you.[xiii] He spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit who would remind them of what he had said, so that not only they, but succeeding generations, would understand.[xiv]
Jesus preached to the Jews first but also foreshadowed the world-wide Christian community: healing of the centurion’s servant,[xv] the woman at the well in Samaria,[xvi] the healed maniac.[xvii] Jesus came to the Jews and to us, Gentiles, too!
[i] John 14:10 NIV
[ii] 46 Parables. The Good Samaritan. Luke 10:25-37 NIV
[iii] Jesus feeds the 5 thousand. Matthew 14:13-21 NIV
[iv] John 6:42 NIV
[v] John 1:19-34 NIV
[vi] The Jews expected their Messiah would shake off the Roman oppression and establish a kingdom on earth. Acts 1:6 NIV
[vii] Mark 4:41 NIV
[viii] Luke 4:14-21; 28-30 NIV
[ix] Mark 11:27-33 NIV
[x] Mark 4:34 NIV
[xi] Crucifixion Matthew 20:17-19 NIV
[xii] Second coming. Matthew 24:1-30 NIV
[xiii] Preparing a place. John 14:1-3 NIV
[xiv] The Holy Spirit. John 14:26 NIV
[xv] The Centurion’s servant. Luke 7:1-10 NIV
[xvi] Woman at the well. John 4:1-42 NIV
[xvii] The healed maniac. Mark 5:1-20 NIV
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