|Playing backgammon in Jerusalem|
At Redeemer we've been in a 9-year preaching project. The focus is on Jesus. For 6 1/2 years I preached. chronologically, through the 4 gospels. Then, for a year, we preached through the Christology of the book of Acts. Now, for almost two years, I've been preaching through, in chronological order, the Christology of the letters of Paul. We're currently in the letter to the Colossians. This coming Sunday I'll preach out of Colossians 3:16-17.
Verse by verse, bit by bit, brick by brick, we're laying a foundation for our people and building a Jesus-literate house to live and move in.
Whenever I preach I expect God to do something. It wasn't always this way for me. Decades ago I preached, said a prayer, and we all went on our way. Not any more. The proclamation of God's Word is now accompanied by demonstrations of his love and power. This requires discernment as to what God is doing as the preaching is happening. Proclamation and demonstration. If Jesus had a method, that was it. Jesus' words had authority. Jesus' actions validated that authority. (I do believe that God's Spirit does things in the hearts and minds of people as his Word is simply proclaimed. But it is instructive to note that, as Jesus' words had illocutionary power, Jesus also acted in demonstrations of power. Kind of like "tell and show.")
New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham writes: Jesus "saw the kingdom arriving in the sorts of things he was doing: bringing God’s healing and forgiveness into the lives of people he met, reaching out to those who were pushed to the margins of God’s people, gathering a community in which service would replace status. These are the sorts of things that happen when God rules." (Bauckham, Jesus: A Very Short Introduction, p. 38. Emphasis mine. And, BTW, this is a beautiful little book on the Real Jesus. Tolle lege!!!)
George Ladd writes: “Jesus’s ministry and announcement of the Good News of the Kingdom were characterized by healing, and most notably by the casting out of demons. He proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom of God, and He demonstrated the Good News of the Kingdom of God by delivering men from the bondage of Satan.” (Ladd, Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God, 47. Emphasis mine.)
Expect Jesus to demonstrate his love and power in your life today.
Bauckham's little book is excellent.
See also Gordon Fee, Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study