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The Poor Have the Gospel Preached to Them

The Poor Have the Gospel Preached to Them

I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase “save the best for last.” In any sort of persuasive writing or speech, such as a legal argument, debate, or essay, the best practice is to start with your weakest argument and gradually escalate until you finish with your strongest point at the end of your presentation.

This is common advice given to public speakers, and I think of it whenever I read the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 11:4-6 when he answered the disciples of John the Baptist. John had been thrown in prison and sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He were truly the Expected One.

Jesus’ response to them shows that His strongest argument for His calling was likely something that we, in this modern age so eager for demonstrations of power and authority, would be inclined to place at the bottom. Though men would look to His great miracles and how they attest to His identity, in describing His ministry in His own words, Jesus deliberately emphasized the preaching of the Gospel to the poor as the most important sign that He was, indeed, the Expected One.

So, when I read this passage, it sounds to me sort of like this:

Go and report to John what you hear and see:

The blind receive sight and the lame walk.

If that weren’t enough, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear.

And not only that, but even the dead are raised up.

But there’s even more, because the poor have the Gospel preached to them.

One would think that the strongest point, the one to finalize the list, would be that those who were physically dead had been brought back to life through Jesus! How can you top that? Not only are ailments instantly cured, but even death itself wilts away at the Lord’s command. Amazing! Surely that would be the most powerful way to remind John of His credentials.

But Jesus knows exactly what He is saying, as he deliberately emphasizes the fact that the poor have the good news of eternal life preached to them.

Those from whom nothing can be gained except gratitude and friendship bask in the purposeful attention of our Lord. This is the most amazing thing. A charlatan or a false messiah would have no interest in the poor, because the poor cannot repay with money or influence.

For me, at least, when I read this quote from Jesus, I see his true royalty. His best gift is not the restoration of earthly life, but the free gift of eternal life, and with His limited time, He prioritized taking the proclamation of that amazing gift to the downcast and the vulnerable.

You and I may never help the blind to see or the lame to walk, but we can join the Lord in this top priority of world evangelism. We have the amazing privilege of being part of his ministry of taking the Gospel to those who are both financially and spiritually poor.Let’s praise Him for this opportunity and be faithful coworkers with Him.