1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
This passage of scripture has always intrigued me. As soon as I read it, I am immediately reminded of the old Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just does not belong.”
John’s disciples are sent to ask Jesus if he is truly the Sent One or are they to look for another. Jesus responds by telling them to tell John the of works and words which they have witnessed. The list included the blind receiving their sight, the lame walking, the lepers are being cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. Jesus is on a roll. He is telling of all the physical healings that are taking place and then throws in at the end, “and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” It appears that Jesus is meeting all the felt needs of the crowd until he gets to the poor. Then, rather than meeting their felt need, which would be riches or monetary gain, instead, he preaches the gospel to them. Why?
The fact is, the gospel, when received, makes one richer than he ever could have imagined. When received, a person who has experienced the soul saving, life changing effect of the gospel wouldn’t trade it for all the riches in the world. I know I wouldn’t. I’d rather be a poor saved man than a rich lost man. Ask any truly born again believer which he would rather be. Just so I could be clear on this point, I asked Christians the question, “If you could receive any material good in this world, be it wealth or fame, in exchange for your salvation, what would you choose?” Did you know what the consistent, unequivocal answer was? Well, of course you do. Not one person said they would trade anything for their salvation. That’s rich!
The gospel is inestimable. One cannot place a value on that which turns a house into a home? What amount of money can change the heart of a drunkard or dope addicted spouse and cause them to become a loving and caring husband or wife? What price would one put on a message that has the power to turn a rebellious teen into an obedient and respectful son or daughter who has a heart for God and his Word? And the list goes on.
Jesus knew exactly what he was doing when he preached the gospel to the poor rather than give them monetary gain. He knew the value of the gospel and the wealth it contained, and by giving these poor people that message, they became the richest in the crowd.
Oh, praise God for His immeasurable riches in Christ!