A Glimpse of the Ministry
Text: Matthew 4:18-25
The small band of disciples was deeply impacted by all that they had heard. First, they heard John the Baptiser pointing out Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Secondly, they had heard Jesus themselves. Andrew even had an opportunity to speak to Jesus personally. They were all convinced that it was worth leaving anything and everything to follow Jesus and be His Disciples.
Hardly missing a step, even though disciples were being called, Jesus ministered to the multitudes. Matthew captured a bird’s eye view of the ministry that Jesus maintained.
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching
in their synagogues, preaching the gospel
of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of
sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.”
The disciples must have been astonished by what they saw! They knew of no teacher who attempted what Jesus did. A number of things must have stood out to them.
1. The vastness of His Ministry
No teacher ever worked harder, or kept longer hours than Jesus! He was indefatigable. He was always teaching and preaching at every opportunity. No teacher ever attempted so much!
2. The power of His Ministry
There was no mistaking the power backing up His ministry! All who had disciples could teach and preach. But the disciples knew of no other Master who had power to heal “ALL kinds of sickness and ALL kinds of disease among the people”.
A GROWING MINISTRY
As the disciples stood by Jesus, and watched Him minister to the multitudes, they must have been awed! The ministry was already so vast, and Jesus had just BEGUN!
“Then His fame went throughout all Syria;
and they brought to Him all sick people who
were afflicted with various diseases and torments,
and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics,
and paralytics; and He healed them.”
What an amazing ministry Jesus sustained! John the Baptiser was right. This Man had to be the Messiah. Who else could attempt and succeed in such a ministry!
In a very short while, His fame had spread outside Israel! Syria was the state bordering Israel in the north! People were coming to Jesus from all over! The spectacle was an awesome thing to behold. Who had ever heard of a Person being able to cure “ALL SICK PEOPLE”?
Matthew also made a special note of some of the categories of people who came to Jesus. Three special groups were mentioned in particular!
No medical doctors could have done better! Did any of the sick pose a problem to Jesus? Matthew had just this statement to make.
“… and He healed them.”
There was no stopping the people from making a beeline to Jesus. The following text must be read with a sense of awe.
“Great multitudes followed Him – from
Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem,
Judea, and beyond the Jordan.”
Who could fail to be impressed by the scene that met the eye! Never had Israel seen such a phenomenon. Not even John the Baptiser could boast of having such success! John was a great preacher, but he did not heal a single person. Nor did he cast out any demon!
THE PLACE OF THE DISCIPLES
Jesus was right in His understanding of the vastness of the vision of His work. He had come for just this purpose. He was not overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work, for the power that was in His life was more than sufficient to meet all needs.
However, in His vision, Jesus knew that He would have to leave all this work behind to some people. One person could not fill His shoes. He needed a strong team of people to take over His work. The move to train disciples was well conceived.
The question now was how the disciples were to be trained to fulfill the ministry that Jesus would in time give to them. He had promised that they would become fishers of men too. Would they actually be able to handle multitudes like that one day? Would they have similar power? Would they be able to succeed?
The Disciples would not be able to come up with any appropriate answer at this stage of their training. Any attempt to answer questions concerning the future would be at best premature. For the moment, the disciples must seek to do their part in attending to the lessons that Jesus taught. If they were to become fishers of men, as Jesus promised, then they must not fail to learn as best they could as His disciples.