Preaching the Word Well | Mark 1:45–2:2

45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.

Who could fault the leper’s excitement as he spreads the word about Jesus?  Indeed, when the time is right, Jesus sends out His disciples saying, “What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops” (Mt 10:27).  Even so, the time wasn’t right yet, and this man unwittingly makes Christ's work more difficult.  How could that be, and what do we learn from it?

First, those preaching the Word must do it properly.  Jesus gave this man two commands: “say nothing to anyone… show yourself to the priest” (v. 44).  Scribes also gather at the house (v. 6), so perhaps the man obeyed the second command, but he was disobedient with the first.  He also spread “news” about Jesus but without a message Jesus had given him.  Remember that Jesus sent out His disciples only after they spent time learning His message from Him.  While we commend the leper’s enthusiasm, we must recognize that growth in obedience and learning from the Master is essential for preaching the Word well. 

Christ’s message is the proper proclamation.  Sadly, before I typed this, I read one famous pastor musing that he (not Christ) has something important to tell people every week.  Hebrews 1:1–2 says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”  The message of Christ is to be proclaimed, the Word to be preached (2 Tm 4:1–2), for saving faith only comes when people hear the word of Christ (Rm 10:17). 

Christ can straighten out our problems.  Everyone with His Word lives inconsistently and have mishandled it at some point.  However, just as the leper’s campaign made Christ’s ministry more difficult, it also brought people to Christ to hear the pure Word.  Praise the Lord that He’s able to work despite our shortcomings, turning our sins into victories for the kingdom!

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