Heralding God’s Kingdom
...Teaching, Preaching and Healing
One Sunday morning, I gathered with some believers under some trees outside a little church in Africa. There was no need to go into the building for it had no roof. Mostly simple village people came who knew nothing of meetings that last only an hour. The meeting that began in the morning lasted well into the afternoon.
An unusual rest in the Holy Spirit came upon all of us that day. It didn’t matter that the singing went on longer than it should have or that the time taken for testimonies was way too long. All that really mattered was that the Lord seemed pleased, and we were enjoying being there with Him, and with one another. When there is a manifest presence of the Lord in the midst of a congregation, there is always a great deal of love and joy among the people, and no hurry for the meeting to end. In meetings like this, time is not of the essence.
When it came time for me to teach, I spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven, mostly from the Gospel of Matthew. No one became restless. They were all intent on what I was saying. So I felt liberty to take as much time as I needed. When I finished, I gave a simple invitation for those who were ready to respond to what I had taught. I think every person there ran forward and fell on their knees. They came up to where I had been standing by a little table. I wanted to lay hands on and pray with each one who rushed forward, but it didn’t seem necessary that day. The Holy Spirit was taking care of the ministry and it was evident that people were being healed. Oh, what praying and worship and healing went on that day!
Then it began to rain.
We hadn’t even noticed the clouds gathering. It rained, and rained and kept on raining. I ran around and gathered Bibles here and there where people had left them as they ran forward and fell on their knees to pray. I placed them under the little table but no one else seemed at all aware that it was raining. Something more important was taking their attention. They were receiving the Word of the Kingdom into their hearts.
I had planned to speak on something I thought more simple. But as I stood there, the revelation of the Light and Truth in Matthew 4:23 and 24 flowed forth. This Scripture had been in my meditation for weeks. What was in those two verses came forth, without hindrance or distraction, as the overflow of my heart. It was one of those times of ministry when everything and everyone came under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
As we opened verse 23, those three outstanding words, teaching, preaching and healing, took our full attention. We took note of them in our last article, but let’s see them together again as we examine them from the Greek New Testament. Maybe as we dig into their wealth we can gain greater insight into what accompanies the teaching and the preaching of the Kingdom. Perhaps handling this Word will bring into our lives a conviction that will call forth the anointing. Perhaps it will initiate a movement of the Kingdom’s power to heal any of you wherever you might be.
Remember how Jesus said He would never leave us? And, that wherever we’re gathered—even in the smallest numbers—He would be in our midst? After all, it is He Who does the real ministry, made vibrant within us by the Spirit sent from His Father’s Throne.
In Matthew 4:23 we learn that Jesus traveled over all the region of Galilee, an area like many parts of the world today with a wide mixture of religious beliefs. The whole place held a reputation as a hotbed of subversive activity. Conservative elders in Jerusalem regarded Galilee as a heathen province riddled with religious cults where strange and “modern” religions were popular. It was apparently, the kind of place Jesus loved to make His proclamations of the Kingdom. He spent most of His time ministering there. What mercy flowed from Him toward those people as He went among them heralding His Father’s Kingdom! He brought with Him the power and authority of the Kingdom. It was manifested by healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. The healings happened as He was heralding the Kingdom.
The word sickness in verse 23 is from the Greek nósos, a word indicating ailments that develop from emotional or mental sickness. By this, we mean a sickness that begins in the emotions, or in the will, or in the mind of a person. An ailment of this kind may be called “psychosomatic.” Websters dictionary defines this kind of sickness as “a physical disorder of the body originating in or aggravated by the psychic or emotional processes of the individual.” Jesus healed all manner of this kind of sickness.
The same verse says that He healed all manner of disease. This word disease is from the Greek malakía, indicating ailments that develop because one carries an inclination toward disease. This could be inherited from one’s family line or from an accident, or disease, of earlier years. I believe this would also include any disease that is communicated from association with others who carry an infectious germ.
The Global Health Council reports the following: “Despite medical advances that have produced hundreds of drugs that are safe and effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, infectious diseases are still a major cause of death, disability and social and economic upheaval for millions around the world.” What a cry this is for God’s Kingdom!
Oh what mercy and miracles are waiting to come with the heralding of the Kingdom! The distraught and anguished people who presented themselves to Jesus discovered in Him the presence and power of Heaven’s Kingdom. Let us ask these questions: Has that ceased? Are we ready to see it again?
We also find in Matthew 4:24, in addition to the sickness and disease that met with the Kingdom’s power, six more terms that indicated the rather horrible existence the people endured who lived in that era. We might miss our understanding of some of these ailments if it weren’t for the vivid descriptions we find in the Greek New Testament.
Let’s see the whole of verse 24 and take account of the six additional kinds of sickness that Jesus healed. And His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him 1all sick people that were 2 taken with divers diseases and 3 torments, and 4 those which were possessed with devils, and 5those which were lunatick, and 6 those that had the palsy; and He healed them.
Reports spread of what was happening wherever Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom. Now we see Him in Syria, a region to the north of Galilee. It’s not likely that the illnesses of the people were different there, but Matthew’s report goes on to tell of other kinds of sickness. We may easily conclude that any of these might be found in all parts of the earth, even to this day. And let’s remember, it was the power of the Kingdom Jesus was heralding that released healing to each ailment.
We take note of all sick people in verse 24. This comes from the Greek pan’tas tous kako’s ech’ontas. There are three words here that need our attention. The first is pan’tas. It quite simply means “all” and emphasizes that none were excluded by Jesus. The second is ech’ontas, with which we need to connect the word tous. Together they mean “those holding onto something.” Next we need to understand kako’s. It tells of the things they were holding like they were precious treasures, but they were bad or worthless things—like a bad disposition, or something morally corrupt, evil, or even criminal. The whole term could have reference to those holding occult idols, or holding evil thoughts in their hearts. It could mean those caught under curses spoken over them. It could mean those holding anger, resentment or bitterness. The list could go on. The power of the Kingdom Jesus heralded reached the roots of all evil things—and set all people free.
Then there were those that were taken with divers diseases. Though most who read this may not be able to read or understand the Greek words, seeing them can help give an idea how the sickness in the people was complex and came from deep rooted conditions in the inner man. The description we’ve just given comes from, ech’ontas poiki’lais no’sois. This means “those caught in the grip of mental and emotional anguish.” It had effect in their physical beings. It meant those whose sickness began with the tension of mental and emotional distress, but in whom after years of holding their anxiety, they became, as it were, prisoners of the very things they hated within themselves. This kind of sickness often goes back to something wrong that someone did to them, some abuse, some neglect, some oversight that left them out in the cold of life. Or, it may not be something that was done to them, it could be something done to someone else. This turns guilt into a harsh task master. As such, it would often result in physical malady.
Then, there were those caught in torments. This is a word whose meaning developed from the torture inflicted on someone accused of a crime. It was physical pain intended to make the accused one confess. It came to mean, however, any kind of excruciating pain, whatever the cause.
The Kingdom was then, and is now, powerful to reach the causes behind the ailments. Even though medical fields offer many cures, there are yet many ailments for which there is no diagnosis.
Some dispute that not all ailments Jesus healed were actual. This was so with regard to those who were possessed with devils. This term is from the Greek daimonízomai, meaning, to be vexed or afflicted by a demon. Its meaning never indicates whether one is possessed, oppressed, suppressed or depressed by the demon. It simply means one’s agony is brought on by demonic influence. Sometimes demons are called unclean spirits, sometimes, evil spirits. Wherever the word devils, appears in the King James Version of the Bible, it is usually from daimon’ion or dai’mon. Both mean “demon.” There is one devil but many demons. I have seen too many persons set free from demonic activity to allow anyone to convince me their work is not real.
Only the power and authority of God’s Kingdom can bring relief from demonic ailments. Usually this kind of relief comes only when the person suffering from demonic influence renounces the ground that has given the demon legal right to attach itself. We discuss this in Putting off the Old Man. If you don’t have this, please obtain it.
Then there is the seventh ailment from a word so long in the Greek we won’t place it here. It literally means someone whose intermittent insanity changes with the phases of the moon. There is evidence that this is an actual ailment with some people. If the moon can hold an influence over the tides of the oceans, then there is the possibility it might have effect over some persons. If this be so, then its influence can be brought under control by the greater power of God’s Kingdom.
There is another ailment Jesus healed in this Matthew passage, translated palsy. Seeing the Greek word helps understand its true meaning. It is paralutikos’ and means, one who is paralyzed.
Under the authority of the Kingdom He was heralding, Jesus ministered healing to all the above. Luke made this statement in his Gospel: ...all they that had any sick with divers (various kinds of) diseases brought them unto Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them—Luke 4:40.
Because of the Roman domination in that region, the disciples kept on hoping that Jesus was the Messiah Who would overthrow the oppression of their government and bring in the longed-for Kingdom from Heaven. However, they didn’t understand how the Kingdom would come. It took some time before they could get a grasp on it and what it would be like when it did come.
It was after the Holy Spirit came upon the waiting disciples in Jerusalem on Pentecost that they began to understand the Kingdom. Peter was the first to gain that insight. As he stood preaching that day, some words from David became open to him. They were words that had been recorded in Psalm 132:11. Peter acknowledged David as a Prophet, then said that God had sworn to him with an oath ...that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his Throne. He went on to say thatDavid ...seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:30,31).
It was becoming clear to Peter that the Kingdom God had promised in Covenant to David, found the beginning of its fulfillment in the Resurrection of Jesus. Or, to make it more clear, when God raised Jesus from the dead, the Kingdom of Heaven became a certainty in the earth. Its dominion would—or, should we say could—now reach unto His followers with the same evidences of power and authority that had been seen in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit’s outpouring upon the disciples was the first evidence that the promised Messiah had finished His work of redemption. He had returned to His Father. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead was now at work in His disciples. Those who had been held captive to disease, sickness, demon oppression and torments brought upon them from the powers of hell could now be free through the ministry of those joined with the risen Lord Jesus Christ.
The writer of Hebrews makes this powerful and compelling statement about the triumphant Lord Jesus: He is the brightness of God’s glory, and the express image of His person. He is the One upholding all things by the Word of his Power. He has by Himself purged (made purification for) our sins, and is now seated on the right hand of the Majesty on high—Hebrews 1:3. From that place of highest authority, He can now bring deliverance to the captives through those who believe Him. Having opened ourselves to the work He finished, we can now know the power and authority of the Kingdom He brought into the earth.
Since He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high, we can now let the impact of these words Peter delivered on Pentecost make their impression upon our hearts. They will confirm to us that the Kingdom is a present certainty for us who are certain of our redemption. Peter said, This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. •Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear—Acts 2:32,33.
What does this testify to us? That the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the believers, at Pentecost, was the release for us, His disciples, to herald the Kingdom that He heralded. What He taught is left now for us to teach.
What attended His proclamation can attend our proclamation. What do we mean by this? The healings, the deliverance from the dark forces of sin, the sickness, the satanic oppression, the sorrows and pains of life can now meet the power and authority of Heaven’s Kingdom. What Jesus brought when He went about teaching, preaching and healing has now passed into the authoritative hands of us, His disciples.
What—oh what—will we let this mean to us? Let us, at least, let the first Word of the Kingdom reach into our hearts. What is that first “Word”? Jesus told us in Matthew 4:17. From that time Jesus began to preach (herald), and to say, Repent (change your way of thinking): for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (has drawn near).
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