What Does the Word ‘Preach’ Mean?
…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
— Mark 16:15
In Mark 16:15, Jesus instructed believers, “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” But what did Jesus mean when He said that we were supposed to “preach”? Did He mean that every believer must have a pulpit ministry where he or she publicly stands in front of a church and preaches to a congregation? What does the word “preach” mean?
The word “preach” comes from the Greek word kerusso, which means to proclaim, to declare, to announce, or to herald a message. It was the message proclaimed by the kerux, who was the official spokesman or herald of a king. Because the kerux was the appointed, official representative of the king or government, his specific job was to announce with a clear and unquestionable voice the desires, dictates, orders, recent events, news, policy changes, or message that the king or government wished to express to the people.
The position of this kerux (“spokesman” or “herald”) was viewed to be the highest, most noble, privileged position in the kingdom because his position gave him routine access to the king that was afforded only to rare individuals. To be the king’s kerux was an honor and supreme privilege that necessitated the highest level of professionalism and excellent performance.
When the king wanted to give a message to his people, he summoned the kerux. The kerux came to the king’s throne room with writing instrument and paper in hand; then he carefully and accurately penned the communication that the king desired to express to his people. After the king was finished dictating his message, the kerux was allowed to freely speak to the king and to ask questions of clarification to make certain he understood every point of the king’s message. Because this man was speaking on behalf of the king, there was no room for mistakes in his delivery of the message. When he finally stood before the people to announce the message given to him, it had to be accurate, precise, and faithful to what the king wanted to express to his people.
As important as it was for the kerux to accurately understand and communicate the king’s message, it was equally his responsibility to capture and convey the sentiment, heart, and emotions of the king on these various issues. Thus, the kerux was expected to deliver his message with emotional impact in order to properly represent both the word and the heart of the king.
Proper attire was essential for this notable position, for when the kerux stood before the people to speak on behalf of the king, he was also to physically represent the king in all his splendor and glory. The responsibility of publicly representing the king demanded that he dress appropriately, for a shabbily dressed kerux would have been an insult to the honor of the king.
And because the kerux was the primary connection between the people and the king, he was also required to learn how to speak to people in a kind and cultured fashion. If he was rude, his behavior would reflect negatively on the king. If he was kind and courteous, this would reflect favorably on the king. As the king’s spokesman, the kerux understood that every word he spoke, every piece of clothing he wore, and all his actions, both public and private, would ultimately affect people’s opinion of the king. Consequently, because of his great responsibility as the king’s spokesman, he knew that every detail of his life was to be lived honorably, honestly, and uprightly. His personal life, as well as his public life, had to be spotless, immaculate, pristine, gleaming, and squeaky clean — free of accusation.
When the kerux had finished delivering the king’s message to the people, he turned, left the platform from which he spoke, and then remained silent until the king summoned him back to the throne room to give him another message for the people. As the king’s spokesman, he had no right to speak his own mind, give his own personal commentary about what the king meant, or draw any attention to himself. Such actions would be considered gross violations of his position and a guarantee that he would no longer serve as the king’s spokesman.
Keeping all this in mind, let’s consider again what Jesus meant when He commanded that all believers go into all the world “to preach” the Gospel. Since kerusso (“to preach”) is the message of the kerux (“the king’s spokesman”), it is clear that by using the word “preach,” God is communicating several very powerful messages to you and to me.
First, as a believer, you must learn to see yourself as the representative of Jesus Christ. Although you may never stand before a public pulpit to preach, it is a fact that your life is your most important pulpit. What you say and do in your life reflects on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Second, as a believer, it is absolutely essential that you spend time in the Presence of the Lord so you can hear His Word and capture His heart. You should never think of the time you must spend in God’s Presence praying or reading the Word as laborious or dreadful. It is a high honor that God has given you. He beckons you to come into His throne room so He can speak to you, share with you His heart, and then empower you with His Spirit to take the message to people who are desperately waiting for it. Never forget that you possess a position of great privilege.
Third, as a believer, it is imperative that you learn how to dress appropriately and how to speak kindly, courteously, and in a way that brings honor to Jesus. If your appearance communicates a low standard because you dress like a slob, never comb your hair, always look unprofessional, or allow yourself to remain overweight (yes, I know this last one affects many people, but what I am saying is true) — this is exactly the image you are imparting about Jesus Christ.
Would the president of a nation allow His spokesman to be aired on television in a sweatshirt or tennis shoes? Would a national public representative dare to go on national television to speak on behalf of the government looking like a slob? Of course not! It would be disrespectful to the office or the person the spokesman represented. Likewise, we must think about what we look like, what we sound like, and how we are perceived. We are not representing ourselves; we are representing Jesus Christ.
Fourth, as a believer, you must realize that your private life is just as important as your public life. If you publicly declare the Gospel, but later it is discovered that your private life is a horrible mess and a complete contradiction of what you’ve been preaching, this, too, will reflect poorly on the Gospel.
The lost world loathes hypocrites but enjoys it immensely when a preacher or believer is found to be a contradiction of the message he or she preaches. So never forget that as the Lord’s spokesman, you are required to do everything possible to maintain a life that is spotless, immaculate, pristine, gleaming, and squeaky clean — free of accusation.
Fifth, as a believer and a representative of Jesus Christ, you must make a decision to refrain from making personal comments that are not your business to make. Speak what Jesus tells you to speak — but if someone tries to draw you into a debate or a conversation regarding a matter you know nothing about, just remain silent. You are not required to speak or to act like an authority regarding issues about which you are not an authority!
You see, preaching the Gospel is what you do every day of your life by the way you live and conduct yourself. It is true that public pulpit ministry is a very special gift and honor that some are called to do. But the truth is, you preach every day that you get up and faithfully go to work! You preach when you choose to dress modestly or when you speak kindly to your fellow employees, believers, or friends. All these things reflect on the message of the Gospel.
So as you obey Jesus’ words to take the Gospel to every ethnic group, culture, custom, civilization, and sphere where you personally have influence, always be mindful of the fact that you are His kerux in those places. You are His personal representative, and everything you do and say preaches about Jesus Christ!
And as you go through each day, always make sure you set aside time in God’s Presence to obtain His Word and capture His heart. Then you’ll be able to turn to those you touch every day of your life and give them the message and heart that God has imparted to you on their behalf!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I ask You to please help me become an honorable representation of who You are! I am sorry for allowing myself in the past to live a low standard that gave a wrong impression about You. Now I understand that I am Your face and Your voice to the people around me. To the best of my ability, I want to speak courteously, dress appropriately, act professionally, and live in a Christ-like manner so I can accurately portray Your Word and Your heart. I know this is going to require some changes in my life, so today I am asking You to help me as I take steps toward becoming a worthy representative who brings only honor to the King of kings.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I am the spokesman of the Lord. As His representative, I live respectfully, honorably, and in a way that brings glory to His name. I behave professionally; I speak courteously and kindly to others; I dress appropriately as His representative; and I preach the Gospel with excellence by the way I live both my public and private life. As a believer, I accept my assignment to be one of God’s messengers to my generation!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. After reading today’s Sparkling Gem, how do you feel you are doing at accurately representing Jesus Christ with your life? Does your life preach a message that brings honor or disgrace to Him?
2. Do you see any changes you need to make in the way you dress, speak, or act so you can present a better view of Jesus to those who don’t know Him? If the answer is yes, what are those changes you need to make?
3. Why don’t you make a list of those changes and put that list somewhere in your home where you will see it every day and be reminded to work diligently on improving those areas of your life?