Jesus sent out the twelve to preach the gospel and to heal people. (vv. 1-6) The late Martin Lloyd Jones said that the right place to be is between the mountains of intellectualism and the experiential. This way of thinking also applies for preaching the gospel and serving physical needs. We should be doing both. The best missionary efforts have all included a right balance between preaching and medicine.
Herod became interested in Jesus because he had beheaded John and some were saying that Jesus is John risen from the dead or another prophet from old. (vv. 7-9) Many people have their thoughts about Jesus. Many will accept him as a good teacher. I recently read some of the religious writings of Leo Tolstoy. While Tolstoy understood much of what Jesus taught, he did not accept the miraculous; thus, something is missing from the way that he saw Jesus. Jesus is a prophet but greater than the prophets of old.
The apostles gave a report to Jesus about their outreach and Jesus continued to preach about the kingdom of God and do healing. (vv. 10-11) Ministers need rest but Jesus ministry was so short lived he did not have time for much rest. He was always about his Father’s business.
Jesus feed five thousand people with five barley loaves and two fish. (vv. 12-17) You cannot disconnect Jesus teaching from the miraculous. We are to preach the gospel and heal the sick but there is only one Christ of God.
Jesus asked the disciples who do the people say that I am and who do you say that I am? (vv. 18-22) This is the question above all other questions concerning Jesus. Who do you say that I am?
Jesus taught that if they want to be in the kingdom of God, they must be willing to do whatever is necessary to follow him, even if it leads to death. (vv. 23-27) This is the true test of faith. You say that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God but do you believe it even unto death?
The Father God told Peter, James and John to listen to Jesus above Moses and Elijah. (vv. 28-36) Jesus is greater than Moses whom the Jews saw as law giver and Jesus is greater than all the Old Testament prophets. One needs to read the Old Testament to understand the New Testament but it is Jesus Christ that we listen too.
Jesus healed a man’s son whom the disciples could not heal and all were amazed at the greatness of God. (vv. 37-43) God has given us many things to do in modern medicine but we cannot perform miracles. Miracles are done by God alone.
Jesus told his disciples that the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men but they did not understand the meaning. (vv. 42-45) Even while people were amazed, Jesus new and taught his disciples that men would turn against him. Jesus did not come to be crowned king of this world but he is king in the kingdom of God.
Among the disciples of Christ is equality. (vv. 46-48) We should not view one as better than or greater than another. I see this happening in the church and it is always sad.
If someone believes in Jesus but practices a little differently than you, do not discourage them. (vv. 49-50) There are essentials to the faith. If a person has all of the essentials do not discourage them.
Jesus rebuked James and John for wanting to call fire down from heaven to consume a samaritan village who would not receive him. (vv. 51-56) We must remember that Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. (Jn. 12:47) Preaching and healing is our job. Christians spend to much time focusing on politics.
You must be willing to leave all now and follow Jesus without looking back. (vv. 57-62) Following Jesus Christ might mean losing everything that you have in this world. Are you willing to lose everything to gain eternal life in the kingdom of God?