And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics and paralytics, and He healed them.
Great multitudes followed Him — from Galilee and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and beyond the Jordan.
And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them ….
— Matthew 4:23 – 5:2
What follows, of course, is the Sermon on the Mount — Jesus’ lengthy discourse that includes the Beatitudes. Thousands of people came and listened to Him. But Jesus preceded that with healings. He spoke the Word and proclaimed the Kingdom, but what got people’s attention and drew them to Him was the fact that they were being healed of whatever their sicknesses were because of being touched by, or even coming close to, Him.
He healed all manner of diseases.
Then He opened His mouth.
We are supposed to lead others to the Kingdom, to make disciples out of people; and Jesus’ example is not only the best we can follow, it’s one we can follow. It was His actions that drew people to Him. He gave them what they needed — healing of all diseases — and used that to point people to God. We can do that, too, healing others physically or spiritually, through our actions — whatever the Holy Spirit leads us to do for them
And when the time comes, then we can open our mouths and tell them of the Kingdom and the freedom we have found in Christ.
You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium’s
Liable to walk upon the scene
— “Ac-cen-tchu-ate the Positive”, by Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer, 1945
And notice that when He did talk, Jesus did not point out what was wrong with people or even with the “fallen world”. He focused on positive things that people listening to Him might not have even thought of as positive. Positive things about meekness? Mourning? Thirsting? Hungering? Being persecuted?
But the main thing to remember is that Jesus didn’t start by talking. He started by doing, and that’s what we need to do, too. Do good to people — even (or especially) those you don’t particularly like — and keep doing it until you get their attention. Then tell them that, whatever state they’re in, their life matters to God, and Jesus’ whole reason for coming to us was not to condemn us for falling away from Him, but to lead us back. “Come home! All is forgiven!”
Interestingly, Jesus tells the Pharisees that “an evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign” (Matthew 12:39), but in the case of the multitudes who listened to Jesus that day on the mountain, the signs came to them, and they followed, to find the source.
When we do good to people, let the deed be the sign and let us be the signpost, pointing them to God and saying,