42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, 43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea. (Luke 4:42-44)
Jesus was compelled to preach. He was obedient to a missional impulse. The people would have distorted it, setting him up as sort of a local health clinic, miraculously and conveniently healing all their physical ailments. They also wanted to hear more. But Jesus had a mission – to preach the good news in other places too.
I think we often discount Jesus’ preaching ministry. The miracles excite us: the mighty deeds like feeding the multitudes, walking on water, raising the dead, etc. But Jesus spent a great deal of time teaching. He was often called “rabbi” or teacher. The word for disciple in Greek is related to the word for learning/listening. It is the Latin which gives us a word which is so strongly connected to discipline. Jesus was a great talker. People flocked to hear him.
Jesus is still talking today. He talks through us. I don’t think this mission which Jesus is on has stopped or has ever been interrupted. He wants to get to that next set of ears, that next heart, that next person, and tell them something which they need to hear. He wants to preach the Good News to that human being.
If you are reading this, there is a good chance you are one of those folks in whom he has placed that same urge to some degree. It is a holy and good thing to be a preacher. When we ascend to the pulpit, lifting our eyes to face a group of folks, no matter how small, whom Jesus has gathered to hear him, that we are standing in and ancient line of preachers.
I thank God for those who have preached to me. I thank God my own call to preach. I thank God for you.