Jesus Came Preaching

I found the following from Timothy George, a Baptist historian and theologian, a wonderful and insightful read,

“At the heart of the Christian faith is a Savior who was a preacher. “And Jesus came preaching” (Mark 1:14). This stands in contrast to the gods of Olympus or the deities of the Roman pantheon whose interaction with mortals, when it happened at all, was transient, ephemeral, detached, like a circle touching a tangent. Zeus thundered, but he did not preach. Nor did the dying and rising savior gods of the mystery religions. There were ablutions and incantations and the babbling utterances of the Sibylline Oracles but nothing that could rightly be called a sermon.

But when the divine Logos was made flesh (egeneto sarx, John 1:14), he embraced the full range of human pathos and human discourse: Jesus wept, and Jesus preached. Jesus declared that the very purpose of his mission on earth was to preach: “‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ And he kept on preaching. . . .” (Luke 4:43-44a).

The old liberal construal of this text was to say that Jesus came preaching the kingdom and what we got was the church. But that way of putting it is to deny the coinherence of the kingdom and the King, a title ascribed to Jesus Christ at several places in the New Testament (see John 12:15, 18:37; 1 Tim. 6:13-16; Rev. 17:14, 19:16).

In the Gospels, Jesus not only proclaimed the kingdom—he was the bearer and the inaugurator of it. This was seen both in what he said—his claim of a unique filial relationship with the heavenly Father (Matt. 11:25-30; John 10:30, 14:11)—and in what he did. He despoiled the reign of Satan through the exorcising of demons, he offered forgiveness to sinners and celebrated the eschatological banquet with them, and he asserted divine moral authority in many ways including the striking “but I say unto you” sayings of the Sermon on the Mount. Thus from the beginning, the content of early Christian preaching was neither a new philosophical worldview nor a code of ethics to improve human behavior, but rather Jesus Christ himself: Jesus remembered in his words and deeds, Jesus crucified, buried, and risen from the dead, and Jesus yet to come again in glory—all of which is included in that earliest of Christian confessions, “Jesus is Lord!”  Continue reading…

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5 Responses to Jesus Came Preaching

  1. Lon says:

    Wow this was awesome! This captures at it’s heart why I believe in Jesus. Thanks very much! Will share.

  2. Jon Hughes says:

    Yes, Jesus came preaching. More than that, he was an *apocalyptic* preacher/prophet… something that even liberal scholars, from Schweitzer to Ehrman, have recognized. From a believing/conservative standpoint, this preaching prophet will return in glory to consummate the Kingdom because He’s the Son of God and Son of Man – and hope of the nations.

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