Posted by - Julian Mann, February 2018

Since September, the Ascenders, our monthly group for older children here at the Church of the Ascension, have been receiving teaching from Mark’s Gospel. It is very striking how in Mark’s Gospel Jesus made such an explicit priority of preaching. Preaching really was at the top of his to-do list.
We saw during a session before Christmas with the Ascenders on Mark chapter 1 how Jesus had been miraculously healing many people in Capernaum in Galilee, including the mother-in-law of his disciple Simon Peter. But very early the following morning Jesus withdrew to a solitary place outside the town where he prayed (v35). Simon Peter and his friends went looking for Jesus and told him: ‘Everyone is looking for you’ (v37 - NIV).
Well, they would be, wouldn’t they? If you or I could walk up and down the wards at the Northern General or the Hallamshire healing people with a touch and a word, we would be in massive demand.
But Jesus replied (v38): ‘Let us go somewhere else - to the nearby villages - so that I can preach there also. That is why I have come’ (emphasis added).
Jesus was not concerned with the celebrity status of the miraculous healer. He was concerned with preaching the Word of God.
The parable of the sower in Mark 4, which was the topic of the January Ascenders, explains why. Jesus made preaching his top priority because the Word of God, which he preached and sent others out to preach, is powerful to save sinful individuals for eternity. The good soil in Jesus’ parable, in which the seed of the Word of God is sown, represents people who take God’s message to heart. They bear fruit for God because they are saved people and they are saved by the powerful Word of God about his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal salvation from sin and death and hell, which believing the Word of God brings them.
People can be healed of diseases usually through medical means and that is wonderful. But one day we are all going to die of something.  Yet the Word of God about his Son the Lord Jesus endures for ever (1 Peter 1v25). That is why Jesus made preaching his number one priority.
Julian Mann
February AD 2018


BibleGateway Reform Diocese