Teaching and Preaching

Mattew 11:1. “And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.”

It has always seemed to me that this verse would have been better placed at the end of the previous chapter, since it was the climax of Jesus’ preparation of His disciples to go into all Israel and preach the gospel of the kingdom.

I believe the important thing here is to understand that Jesus did not sit back and drink coffee while His disciples went on their way. He also returned to His teaching and preaching ministry. He is the Lord of the harvest, but He did not set Himself above the laborers that He had sent into the harvest.  Godly leaders don’t just give directions. They participate in the work.

At this point, His rejection by Israel becomes more and more obvious.  Yes, they wanted His healing.  Yes, they listened, often in amazement, to what He had to say. But then, for the most part, they went back to their homes and shook their heads as this upstart Nazarene Who seemed to be preaching a different gospel than the one they wanted to hear.

We have to remember that the Israelites of that day were suffering under the rule of Rome.  They wanted a strong military leader to take them into a fight to reestablish their sovereignty; they wanted a king to destroy the Roman usurpers.  As long as they thought there could be a chance of that, they would follow just about anyone.

It was pretty clear to the people, after a while, that Jesus had come not to free them from bondage to Rome, but to free them from bondage to sin, self, and Satan.

They weren’t quite as interested in that. They wanted a leader like Joshua. There eyes were blind, their ears were deaf, and their hearts were not open.  They rejected Jesus, and 40 years later they ceased to exist as a nation.

We should take heed.

This chapter and the next are important turning points in the story. Tomorrow, we’ll see how John the Baptist is doing.

2 thoughts on “Teaching and Preaching

  1. They were under Roman rule because they were under judgment, and the more an entity is under judgment the more it desires a knight riding in on a white horse to free them, and the more susceptible it is to fake knights taking advantage of them and the situation. (Happens in America every four years.)

    The contrast to the Lord’s original design is stark: No human king. Not even human judges, since they only existed to right the nation. Instead, each person living for God and under only His sole authority, obeying His Law for their own good and the good of all.

    This is what the kingdom of God is, but is obviously not implemented in the majority of Christian communities. Hence, someone to take advantage of a group for his or her own sustenance. And as you said: “Godly leaders don’t just give directions. They participate in the work.”

    In the Lord’s real kingdom, EVERYONE participates in the work. It is a true community. The work is spread out and lessened for each. Much more work gets done. There is more joy and community living, more togetherness, and less stuff demanded by most Christian institutions that only gets in the way and slows us down.

    Thanks for the post and the insight.


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