Jesus was always on the move. What was He going from town to town doing? We read in Mark 1:38-39, “He said to them, ‘Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.’ 39 And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.” Jesus’ ministry was characterized by going and preaching.
If we are going to be obedient to the Great Commission, we must go preach. And if we are going to go preach, we must understand what preaching means. What do you think of when you think of preaching? Maybe C.H. Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, comes to mind. Maybe you think of more recent men like Adrian Rogers, or more distant men, like the Puritans. Though there might be some differences in “who” comes to mind when we think of preaching, most of us all envisioned a church building, a platform, and a pulpit. But what do we see in Scripture?
The word preach, in its various forms, is used roughly 109 times in the New Testament. Almost every time it either explicitly or implicitly points to preaching in the wilderness, in the streets, in the marketplace to the poor, the lost, and the hurting the gospel message. Only 3 or 4 times does it, without a doubt, refer to preaching or teaching in the context of the church. Based on this, if we take the New Testament definition of preaching, then we can assume that when Jesus went out to preach it looked quite different from what we think of when we think of preaching. When Jesus sent His followers out to preach, it looked far different from platforms and pulpit in front of plush pews! It looked more like men and women on the streets sharing the gospel with people who pass. What would it look like if we put as much emphasis on the New Testament’s definition and description of preaching as we put on the 21st century idea?