Read: Matthew 4:23-25
And he went throughout all Galilee . . . (v. 23)
Matthew 4 and Matthew 9 contain two almost identical passages (compare 4:23-25 and 9:35). Between these bookends is a series of snapshots illustrating the three major elements in Jesus’ public ministry.
First, he preached. He “went throughout all Galilee . . . proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom” (v. 23). That is, Jesus announced publicly the good news that God’s rule had come personally into the world. Second, Jesus taught people how they should live as his disciples. Matthew 5–7 records the heart of the ethical and religious teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Finally, because God’s reign ultimately means an end to all evil and suffering, the stories in Matthew 8 and 9 show Jesus healing the sick, delivering the demon-oppressed, and even taming the unruly forces of nature as signs of the already but not yet kingdom of God.
What stands out here about Jesus’ ministry is its comprehensiveness. Jesus had an all-inclusive approach to meeting physical and spiritual need. And he did it everywhere. Matthew says that Jesus went through all the towns and even the villages teaching, preaching, and healing. He didn’t calculate how big the crowd would be when he preached, or whether his ministry would be adequately publicized. He simply went where there was physical and spiritual need—as should we. —David Bast
As you pray, give thanks that Jesus is willing to come to you.
About the Author
Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.