Summary: Jesus the Son of God came to earth 2,000 years ago and walked among the people. There were often mob scenes. Crowds small and large, and sometimes enormous, clamored to get close to Him. There’s a message in that for 21st-century believers and preachers.
Many years ago my pastor was in a meeting with a group of fellow pastors, some of whom were lamenting the inability to draw people to their church services. Never one to mince words, my pastor replied, “Jesus never had any trouble drawing a crowd.” He was right, and the Scriptures support his comment — “…large crowds followed Him” (Matthew 8:1); “Great crowds came to Him” (Matthew 15:30).
The four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — record the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. As His fame grew, He found Himself preaching, teaching, and healing crowds of needy people everywhere He went. The Bible assures us that Jesus is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). In the Gospels and the Book of Acts we see multitudes coming to Jesus as Savior, healer, baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and deliverer of those held captive by vices, addictions, and demons. And remember: He is the “same today!” He’ll save, heal, deliver, and baptize you with the Holy Spirit in our day.
Pastors, do you want to see crowds hungering for God and filling your churches? Then preach and teach the Lord Jesus Christ and make Him the central focus of your life and ministry, because Jesus never had any trouble drawing crowds of needy people to Himself. Let’s help them find Him today.
Jesus said of Himself that He had come from heaven to earth with a purpose: “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He died on the cross to take our sins and rose again so that we could be forgiven and be born again and become sons and daughters of God (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 6:18). He is the one and only way to God (John 14:6), as the apostle Peter eloquently testified to the Christ-rejecting Jewish leaders: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
The angel had announced to Joseph that his intended wife Mary, still a virgin, would miraculously conceive and [quote] “give birth to a son, and you [Joseph] are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). That same divine child Jesus was indeed born of the virgin, grew up, ministered throughout Israel, then was crucified, resurrected, and ascended back to heaven. There He sits to the present day at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, still saving multitudes of people from their sins!
Preach Jesus Christ crucified! The apostle Paul did (1 Corinthians 1:23) and multitudes were saved. On the Day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) Peter preached Jesus Christ as Savior, and 3,000 were saved and baptized! (vs. 41) Philip went and preached Jesus Christ in Samaria and crowds came to seek the Lord (Acts 8:5-8). Again, what is the point? — Jesus the Savior draws crowds to Himself. So preach Jesus Christ and salvation through Him, and the Holy Sprit will touch the hearts of many.
Now where else did Jesus draw crowds (and still does today)?
The four Gospels are filled with instances of Jesus healing the people, often many people. We read of instances like these:
Jesus did not reserve the ministry of healing only to Himself. To the contrary, He has entrusted the manifestation of His healing power, in His name, to His followers: “And these signs will follow those who believe: In my name…they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Matthew 28:17-18).
In the Book of Acts we see numerous examples of Christ’s followers healing the sick in Jesus’ name. Here are some examples:
Mark 1:8 records John the Baptist’s prophetic words: “I [John] baptize you with water, but he [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” The other three Gospels record similar words. Notice that this is not water baptism, which John was doing, “but” [John making clear distinction, vs. 8] it was a baptism in God’s Holy Spirit.
The crucified-and-resurrected Jesus Himself prophesied to His disciples that “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). And exactly as Jesus foretold just before He returned to heaven, that happened on “the day of Pentecost … [when] all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:1,4).
This Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit, with the observable evidence of speaking in tongues, astounded the onlookers, and “a crowd came together” (Acts 2:5). The apostle Peter “addressed the crowd” (vs. 11), preached Christ the Savior to them, and told them that Jesus Himself had poured out that might Holy Spirit baptism from heaven (vs. 33). Deeply moved by both the events of Pentecost and Peter’s anointed message, 3,000 people accepted Christ and were baptized that day! (vs. 41).
The late evangelist Reinhard Bonnke saw massive fruit born to the Lord in his ministry in Africa. It is said that Bonnke’s ministry over his lifetime received over 79 million decision cards for salvation! In his crusade in Lagos, Nigeria, there were 1.6 million in attendance for a single meeting! Untold thousands were said to have been baptized in the Spirit in his meetings. A few years ago I had the joy and privilege of hearing brother Bonnke preach at a missions conference in California. He said the essence of His ministry was simply this: “I preach Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Yes indeed, my fellow followers of the Lord, preach Jesus the Savior and Healer and Baptizer in the Spirit, and crowds will gather to Him!
Preach Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected. That is the heart of the Gospel — “By this gospel you are saved …  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:2-4). Christ Himself said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die” (John 12:32f). Unashamedly present Jesus to a lost world, and He will draw all people to Himself. The crowds came to Jesus 2,000 years ago; the crowds will come to Jesus today.
Preach Jesus the Savior, the Healer, the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit. In the churches and in your personal sharing, you don’t need to get fancy. Simply tell people about the amazing Son of God, who came to earth and gave His all in order to “seek and save the lost.” And to this present day, He continues from heaven to save the lost, to heal the sick, and to baptize believers in the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ heart is still to draw all people to Him. And you have the privilege of participating in His great work by going out and telling people about our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Perhaps something in our message today has touched your heart and you realize that you haven’t yet received the eternal salvation that Jesus died and rose again to provide for you. If so, please make that single most important choice you’ll ever make for life and eternity. The late, respected evangelist Billy Graham has provided for you a very helpful aid here to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
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©2020, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons & Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.