Eugene Peterson on the Preaching of Jesus

One book I just started reading is Tell It Slant by Eugene Peterson (I’ve always loved Peterson; his book, The Contemplative Pastor, had a huge impact on me early on when I was in seminary, preparing for ministry).

The subtitle of Tell It Slant is, “a conversation on the language of Jesus in his stories and prayers.” In the opening chapter, Peterson focuses his attention on Jesus as a conversationalist, but in discussing the types of conversation Jesus used, he first mentions preaching and teaching. I was particularly interested in what he said about Jesus’ preaching …

Preaching is proclamation. Preaching announces what God is doing right here and now, at this time and in this place. It also calls hearers to respond appropriately. Preaching is the news, good news, that God is alive and present and in action. … Preaching is language that involves us personally with God’s action in the present. … Preaching reveals God in action here and now—for me. (11)

Preaching continues to be the basic language for conveying the revelation of God in Christ Jesus, spoken from street corners and pulpits all over the world: God alive, at work and speaking, here and now, for you and me. (12)

Good stuff. Preaching is not just talking about what God did in the past, but how he’s active in the present. And it calls for a response. It’s good news!

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