This week, Matthew 4:23-25 is the focal point of our study in Matthew’s gospel. The ministry of Jesus is well underway at this point, having chosen the first disciples to join his ministry. As Jesus called the four fishermen to follow him, he told them he would make them fishers of men. These guys were used to casting nets, hoping for a large harvest of fish, but now they were going to be proclaiming the gospel, in hopes of a large harvest of souls. These disciples witnessed an amazing show of God’s power as Jesus proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom, healing many people and delivering them from spiritual oppression. As a result, Jesus’ following increased dramatically, to the point where his fame spread throughout the region.
On a very simple level, Jesus was expanding the kingdom by meeting man’s most essential need: deliverance from the curse of sin. As a result, the fame of the great king spread very organically - by testimony of personal experience.
As I have studied this text and continue to mull over ministry strategy, there’s one main point of application that I believe we must reinforce on a regular basis:
those that experience Jesus make him famous.
The method of kingdom expansion, as we see very specifically later on in Matthew 28, is by sending disciples to make other disciples. On the most basic level though, what Jesus expects of his followers is for them to share their experience. Expanding the kingdom starts with a conversation about your experience with Jesus.
There’s no doubt God created us to be social beings, and there’s no mistake in the fact that Christians are to live in community with one another, sharing a special fellowship through the unity that comes from knowing Christ. But there’s also a reason God made us relational, and that reason is not to inflate our pride on social media, or to gawk at others success, but ultimately to proclaim the good news about Jesus - what Matthew 4:23 refers to as “the gospel of the kingdom.”
When we experience something good, we can’t help but talk about it. When a new child comes into the world, everyone loves to share pictures and spend time with the baby, because there is excitement that comes from a new life. When an engagement takes place and wedding plans are made, word travels fast because of the excitement of marriage. In an even greater way, when we experience the power of God to rescue us from an awful death and heal our souls for eternity - when we experience new life in Christ - we should get excited and desire to share the news with all we come in contact with.
So this week, can it be said of you that your experience of Jesus has resulted in an increase in his fame?