Matthew 12:15-21: “Silent” Evangelism

Read: Matthew 12:15-21

It may strike someone as odd that Jesus wouldn’t want those he healed to tell about them. But Jesus had just healed one on the Sabbath and the Pharisees didn’t like that were wanting to destroy him. Nevertheless, Jesus still healed many people in spite of this, but Jesus warned them not to tell about him because it wasn’t his time to go to the cross.

Matthew quotes Isaiah 42:1-4 to describe these events. This Old Testament text tells of God’s “Chosen Servant” who accomplishes his mission quietly using several metaphors to describe how the prophet won’t be heard in the streets. The expectation of the Messiah for many was a political leader who drive out Rome and restore Israel to independence. But Jesus came has an itinerant rabbi that would heal people. He was not a conquering general and eventually he died in a manner that was reserved for criminals. However, after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, Jesus commissions his disciples to tell the world about him, and they do. Isaiah 42 points to this motif – even though Jesus was quiet in his ministry, the nations would put their trust in him.

Since the time of Jesus, Christians have been proclaiming Jesus to the world and many are coming to faith because of it. Jesus’ ministry – a ministry of preaching repentance as salvation, is the work of missions. Some have interpreted the Great Commission as command to “Christianize” the world, and do it through conquest. This was never Jesus’ intent, rather he showed the disciples how and what to do. And the early church followed the pattern of preaching from place to place until all the world could here, and the task still applies until Jesus returns!

Lord, help me to be like you: preaching Good News so the nations can hope in you!

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