Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 10:7-15 (audio not yet posted).
And as ye go, preach, saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 10:7).
In Matthew 10 Christ sends out the twelve apostles to minister in his name. The opening words in this “First Great Commission” are very similar to the way the “Second Great Commission” will begin, as Christ says, “Go ye therefore and teach all nation…” (Matthew 28:19).
The verb for “to preach” (kerussō) means to proclaim or to herald. The content of the preaching was, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is exactly what Christ preached as he began his public ministry (see Matthew 4:17).
At the heart of that message is Christ’s declaration that in his coming to this world, in the Word being made flesh, the rule and reign of God is now a present reality.
Men who had previously asked, “Who is God?” or “What is his will?” could now look to the man Jesus of Nazareth and see the presence of God.
Consider the apostle John’s words in John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Later in John’s Gospel, Philip will say to the Lord Jesus, “shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (John 14:8), and Christ will respond, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (v. 9). The secret of Christianity is that when you look at Jesus, you see God. When you know Jesus, you know God. When Christ is present, God is present.
Notice also that Christ called upon his apostles first to go and preach. This indicates the primacy and priority of preaching.
Christ did not say to the apostles, “And as ye go, put on dramatic performances.” He did not say, “And was ye go, organize musical performances or multi-media presentations.” He did not say, “And as ye go, set-up philosophy seminars, or build counseling centers or even hospitals.” He sent the apostles out first as preachers.
In 1 Corinthians 1, the apostle Paul will later write that “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (v. 21).
We are not the apostles, but this commission to go and preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand in the man Jesus Christ is still our priority (cf. 2 Tim 4:1-2).
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle