Summary: The preaching of the good news of the kingdom was multi-faceted. It included mercy on people’s earthly needs, but it did not settle there. The real focus is the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Focus on the Kingdom
Jesus has been doing a lot of ministry. Think about a quick outline of what He has done in Capernaum.
• He has been teaching in synagogues
• He has been driving out demons
• He has been healing the sick
We like to think that people were moved by His compassion and His godliness. I don’t believe that is completely right. Doctors in the ancient world were very expensive. Only the rich could actually afford them. The reason so many people went to Jesus was twofold
• He was cheap
• He was effective
When someone showed up healing common people for free, it was only natural that people should flock to him.
Doctors still followed practices like blood letting and massage for cures. They prescribed hot baths (or cold) in pools (or rivers). Sometimes they used mud as a healing agent.
Other times they would encourage visitation of the Greek god of healing. People would sleep all night in the temple and hope for a vision. More often than not, the vision they got told them to do strange things like walk in winter without shoes.
Obviously, these treatments did not have much hope of curing a serious illness. Jesus, on the other hand,
• cured fevers
• made the blind see
• strengthened cripples
• cleared up leprosy
Visibly and immediately. He did it without mumbo jumbo. People could clearly see that He was not performing some special kind of magic because
• He just spoke a word
• or touched a person
• or they touched Him
and they were healed. Very rarely, Jesus used a little earth as a healing tool. He did all this without trying to draw attention to Himself. In fact, He often told people to keep quiet about what had happened.
I believe He did this, because He had a mission and it was not to heal the sick. I don’t believe this was a problem for Him, but He had teaching to do for an entire nation and He needed to get about the work. He had taught in this place and they had proven their resistance to His words.
At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Luke 4:42-44 (NIV)
Jesus needed time for Himself
The bottom line, is all this healing and delivery ministry made Him tired. The section of the gospel we are looking at probably represents about 9 months of ministry. He was working hard, and He needed time away. Sometimes He went away to pray, but sometimes, as in today’s passage, the Bible doesn’t say what He was doing, just getting away. He needed spiritual refreshment, and He needed rest.
The fact is, that the more people He healed, the more came. The more He told them to be quiet about it, the more they talked. The impression we get is that He worked from morning till night, and when He went away, they found Him and tried to keep Him working.
We would never say that Jesus was "just a man." But He was a man and men get tired. Another fact is that the more people perceive that they need another person, the more they will feed that need.
The people did not need Him as much as they thought they did
This had nothing to do with whether He loved the people. It had everything to do with physical limitations. Jesus just could not stay in one place and do all that people wanted Him to do.
Jesus was saying that He could leave. They didn’t need Him as much as they thought they did. They didn’t want Him to leave. They tried to get Him to stay, but He refused.
Jesus had other people to reach
Finally the reason He was leaving comes to light. He had to preach in other towns. He could stay and work with the sick forever, but that wasn’t why He had come. He had come to:
preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also
He said that was why He was sent. As much as this town thought they needed Him to heal their sicknesses, other towns needed Him more, so that they could learn about the kingdom.
And He left
Jesus, where are you going?
We need you
Hurting, suffering people are waiting
Don’t you love us?
It isn’t fair that you help some but not others