June 27 I Monday
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom…”
—Matthew 4:23, NKJV
Jesus did not sit around waiting for people to come to Him; He travelled throughout Galilee, going to where the people were. He entered the synagogue and started to teach people. Why did He go to the synagogue? Because the synagogue was a place of instruction, where people would come together to discuss the Scriptures as a community.
Jesus focused His ministry on teaching in order to help people understand the Scripture, whereby they would come to have a proper understanding of who God is and what a life of holy living looks like. Jesus spent His time teaching, as we cannot respond to God unless we know who He is. But the opening verse of this devotion tells us that Jesus focused His ministry on preaching as well. This begs the questions, what is the difference between preaching and teaching, and are they the same thing?
Teaching, on the one hand, is directed towards the mind, so that we know something. Preaching, on the other hand, is directed towards the will, so that we do something about it. In other words, preaching is the call to action as a result of what we have heard. Therefore, teaching is informational and preaching is transformational—both are required. First, the good news must be taught; then the preaching must be applied. Charles Price once said, “The good news only ever becomes good news when the will is made to respond. Minds may be stretched, stimulated and dazzled by impressive teaching, but lives are only changed when the teaching becomes preaching and hearers are caused to cry out, ‘What shall we do?’” Teaching and preaching go hand in hand, as Charles adds, “To teach and not preach may produce full minds but will leave barren hearts.”
Not only was Jesus teaching throughout Galilee, He was also penetrating to the heart and inviting people to respond to what they had heard. He shared the good news of the kingdom of heaven, that He had come to seek and to save that which was lost, and that salvation could be theirs if they would respond to His message.
What are we going to do as a result of what we know? For some of us reading this devotion, we do not need more knowledge about Jesus; we simply need to respond to what we already know. The good news is only good news once the will is made to respond to what the mind has heard; it needs to make the one-foot journey from our mind into our heart.
Prayer: Gracious Lord Jesus, I ask that You will grow my knowledge and understanding of You. Transform my life and guide me to walk in a manner that glorifies You. Thank You, Lord.