One thing Jesus would definitely undo in the church and our lives personally is preaching or more specifically the lack of it. We tend to think of a preacher as someone on the stage, in a church, teaching the word of God to a group of believers, or a person on a street corner preaching to cars and people passing by. And that is ok and correct, but it's more of a cultural definition rather than what the word historically means.
And I also think our current idea of a preacher is pretty far removed from the original usage. So maybe we need to use a different term, or maybe we need to describe it better than with just one word. Let's give it some context.
We contsantly run in to this as a problem being English speakers reading a document translated from ancient languages. We lack context as we study the Bible. And adding context does not only mean to read the verse before and after what we are studying. Context is also cultural and literary.
I have no doubts that things we argue about today in the church, were as plain as day to the original audience of the writings we have. I grew up as a kid wondering why Jesus never plainly told people who he was. That is to say, why did Jesus never tell people He was God plainly and simply. And the reality is He did many times, but today, reading it after being translated into English via latin and church tradition, and also being translated into our modern culture. This can lead us to see something completely different than the original writers and readers ever did. Their context is the best context to understand what the Bible is saying.
That being said, the most basic was to understand the word "preach," isn’t a preacher on a stage from a pulpit, but a person proclaiming or making something known. We hear the word preacher and we think of a person specifically designated by God (clergy) to teach the Word to a congregation of normal, not-so-bible-smart people (laity). This is wrong. The moment you are telling someone the Good News about Jesus and the Kingdom of God, you are a preacher. And that's in every important sense of the word.
You are opening your mouth and making known something where it needs to be known. Some people have too low of a value on proclaiming the Good News or the Gospel. One of the lies told by the devil and the world is that we don’t need to proclaim the Gospel everywhere. We can just let our lives be “living epistles,” living letters that people can see. If we are like everyone else, that doesn’t help to spread the Gospel at all. We really need to be different, so that people can see a noticeable difference.
All of my life I've heard testimonies from people and later as an adult I have had this question asked of me and my wife, “What is different about you? There is something, what is it?” The answer to that question in one word is "Jesus." And that question has opened the door many times for us to share the Gospel with people.
Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus everywhere IS the primary mission of all Christians. I didn’t say it is the primary mission of the church, or of pastors, or apostles or missionaries, or leaders, deacons, elders, etc. It's the primary purpose of living for all followers of Jesus. I hope that last sentence removed any loopholes you had for not being a preacher.
In the last instructions Jesus gave his followers he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Another remembered Jesus saying, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15
We get the idea that it's a “special” person that God uses to do this from the Bible and from our experience. We've been to churches and seen the “Preacher." In the Old Testament, there are many examples of a “preacher.” It's usually someone considered a prophet, someone obviously anointed by God and who speaks God’s Word many times with supernatural signs backing up the message from God. But look at the message.
Usually, it's a call to repent. It's usually a message that's supposed to convict or convince the hearer that they need to repent, to change their way or thinking, and turn their thinking and life to a new direction.
A man of God when David was king was Nathan. In that time there were very few people who were anointed or selected and shown to be approved but God to preach His message. The king was anointed, the priest was anointed, and there were various prophets who were anointed and did most of the preaching, but it was few people.
Nathan came to David after his sin and cover-up with Bathsheba and Nathan preached a message to King David. And what was the end result of the message? David was filled with a self-righteous anger and then Nathan pointed his finger at the king and said, “You are the man!” A perfect sermon. What was the response? A repentant sinner. The sermon was not condemnation of the king, but a conviction and call to repent.
Today, in the days of the church, the days of the New Testament, the new covenant, we are in a very different situation. This situation changed in Acts chapter 2.
Right after Jesus gave his followers their mission, He told them to wait in Jerusalem until they received a promise. A promise prophecied many years before that would mark the beginning of the last days, and the birth of the church, and this happened on the anniversary of the birth of Israel as a nation, the day the Law was given on Mt. Sinai.
The followers of Jesus were all in the temple as commanded on the 50th day after Passover, (Pentecost in Greek) and something happened! According to Peter what was just witnessed by thousands of people was the fulfillment of an end times prophecy and the birth of something new.
Read it in your Bible starting in Acts 2:17 , but don’t stop reading where my quote ends.
“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy. . .
In the former days, God’s Spirit was poured out on a few special people, but now we are in a new day, and in this new day, God said, I will pour it out on all people. Men, women, young, old servants, free, this is available to everyone. At the end of Peter’s proclaiming, what was the response of the people? "What should we do?"
Peter Responded, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Today everyone who hears this message of Good News and responds by accepting Jesus as both Lord (God) and Savior is not only saved, but born again by the Holy Spirit and chosen and approved by God to proclaim this same message of Good News.
It's no longer some few special, chosen people who this applies to, but to all the followers of Jesus. God knows who you are, and you have been chosen for this time, right now. Jesus did not made a mistake by choosing you.
"When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” Luke 5:8
Jesus didn’t apologize and say, “I guess I got the wrong person, sorry. Andrew, lets go.” Likewise, Jesus didn’t make a mistake when He called you to follow him.
Imagine that Elon Musk called you up and asked you to be a part of his personal team at SpaceX, one of the most exciting and ambitious projects in history. What would you do? This isn't even as great as the opportunity to work with Jesus. He has asked you to be a part of the greatest project in human history. The ultimate social justice project. To remove the largest cause of human suffering from people’s lives. . .Hell!
Paul said it like this, “How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
This is the responsibility of all followers of Jesus. We are called by Jesus to be the one preaching to them. All of us, every solitary follower of Jesus.
I believe we are up to the task. Let’s make this Good News known everywhere!