The fallacy of taking Matthew 12:19 out of context; Jesus never opposed open-air street preaching
by Bill Rhetts
Many of those that oppose open-air preaching, will attempt to use Matthew 12:19, to imply that Jesus would not have preached out in the open air, or the streets.
The problem is, they are either intentionally, and/or ignorantly taking Gods Word out of context.
Let’s first look at this verse. “He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.” Matthew 12:19
Matthew here was quoting the words of the prophet Isaiah, where Isaiah prophesied about the Lord Jesus in Isaiah 42:2, which says “He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.”
This prophecy of Isaiah 42:1-4, was fulfilled here in Matthew 12:17-21.
Please read Matthew 12:9-21 for the proper context of verse 19. The Lord was saying in verse 19, that He did not want to draw attention to Himself, regarding the miracles that He was performing. He was also trying to silently evade His own arrest, so that He could further do His Fathers will.
Please read Isaiah 42:1-4 for the proper context of verse 2. Isaiah was saying that Jesus would not want to stir up a revolution, or force His way into power.
Remember context of the Text is important. Matthew 12:19 was not in the context of Jesus street preaching (or not street preaching.) Matthew was simply repeating those prophetic words of Isaiah, that Jesus (as the Servant) was not trying to win an applause from the crowds. That He would not audibly complain about the injustices that He would soon endure. That He would silently put up with the abuse. That He would not even complain, when He would later be arrested, beat, tortured, and even crucified.
As my Study Bible notes explain, this Old Testament passage “cited as an explanation of why Jesus commanded people not to tell who He was. He came to proclaim and establish justice, but not by a showy display of power, and not by leading a political or military movement. Since the role of the Messiah was so misunderstood among the people, Jesus had to dampen the misguided enthusiasm that was bound to spring up.”
Folks it’s one thing to sit behind a computer mouse, in your safe home, while criticizing those who put their boots to the ground. But it is worse when you use your mouse to double-click, copy and paste Gods Word out of context. As Jesus said you must ‘repent, and believe in the Gospel.’
Sadly on Facebook I’ve even seen a couple open-air preachers, who seem to believe it’s their spiritual gift to consistently criticize other open-air preachers. When you publicly speak out against the simple flaws of others, that share your same calling; pride is usually the root of the problem. Unless an open-air preacher is preaching heresy, let them be. Be thankful for them, and pray for them.
For further on this topic, please read my post, “Attention Church: Open-Air preaching is a Biblical calling! Articles & video included here!”
Bill open-air preaching an expository teaching on ‘Just as in the days of Noah’