August 03, 2013

The Fame of Jesus and My Testimony

MATTHEW 4:23-25   (Re-posted from March 2012)


23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.


It is interesting that Jesus' FAME grew as He healed everyone and proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom.  Where were all those people when He was crucified?  What kind of fame does Jesus want us to promote?  I want to point out two particulars of this story.


First, Jesus wasn't proclaiming the good news of His death which would take the place of our damnation, the good news of His resurrection, and the transmission of His righteousness to our account, which would provide the only means unto eternal life.  (That is the gospel we have today, but that was not the gospel being preached by Jesus or His disciples).  Jesus was preaching the invasion and observable reign of God's active sovereign rule over a people enslaved to their own sinful pride and desires.  He was also preaching that He was the manifestation of that authority.

Second, in His own day, Jesus was famous because He gave people the hope of a ruler who would take care of them according to all of their temporal desires.  When it wasn't working out the way they envisioned, they turned on Him in rage and celebrated His torture and death.

Think about how we respond to His Gospel message today.  The parable of the soils in Matthew 13 tells us that there are several different ways which people respond to His gospel.  All look genuine at first, but only one of them is a genuine response which leads to true repentance and life.

It begs the question for me, "Has my response to the Gospel made Jesus famous according to who He truly is, or who I want Him to be?" Am I living a truly repentant and eternity bound life, or a self centered emotional response?  Do I promote the fame of Jesus through a proclamation of what He has done for me, or through a proclamation of who He is.

Today, if you want to share Christ, the usual advice is to share what He has done for you.  I believe that is a necessary testimony, but I believe it has a proper place and time.  In the Bible, there is never a focus on simply what He did for someone.   Anytime the pharisees focused on Jesus, it was always on what He was doing for people, and He chastised them for it because they didn't see who He was through it.  The Biblical writers always focused on what He did because of who He was, is, and will be.

What does our testimony reveal about Christ?  Is He famous because He saves me and others, or because He is the Lord God Almighty who is worthy of all glory and honor and praise, and He saved me despite my unworthiness in light of that?

God bless you today.  Live worthy of the hope to which you have been called, and the name which you have been given.  It's all about Him.


With you for His glory