“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matt. 9:35).

The technique Jesus used in preaching the gospel was very simple. First, there was exposition. Jesus developed His theme, and when He quoted from the Old Testament, He expounded on the text so that the meaning was very plain. Second, there was application. All practice should be doctrinal, and all doctrine should be practical. The Christian is to be a doer of the Word, and not a hearer only. Third, there was illustration. Jesus illustrated His teaching on the kingdom of God by a parable, or by miracles of healing. In context, Jesus healed every sickness and disease among the people.

The gospel which Jesus preached concerned the good news of the kingdom of God, which, the Jews also referenced as, “the kingdom of heaven”. Jesus had something important to say about the nature of the kingdom of God.

Initially, Israel was designed to be a theocracy, not a democracy, or even a dictatorship, despite the political domination of Rome. From their beginning, Israel was to be unique among the nations of the earth for it was to be a kingdom of priest, subject to the theocratic LORD GOD. Through Moses, God had told the Exodus Generation, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:6).

God would rule over His special nation, sometimes in joy, sometimes in anger, but always in righteousness. “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched-out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you” (Ezekiel 20:33). The deed was done. Israel was formed as a nation and given a land to settle in Palestine.

But, as the years passed, the vision of Israel being a kingdom of God diminished.

The time came in Jewish history when the nation openly said they did not want to be a theocracy. They did want to be like other nations. They wanted a king. The people of Israel rejected the Lord, and He knew it. “They have rejected me,” God told Samuel, “that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7).

Without surrendering His own omnipotence, or sovereignty, God gave the people an earthly king. They became like other nations, but they were not happy. In fact, the nation had made a terrible mistake. One foreign power after another came to possess their land, and dominate the lives of the Jews. In their sorrow and grief, Messianic hopes and dreams began to emerge that one day, God would forgive His people. One day a Messiah would come and restore Israel to its proper place in the plan of God.

 

It was believed that Israel would become an independent nation, and then the kingdom of God would reappear. The Jews believed that when the Messiah came to establish the kingdom of heaven, He would perform miracles.

What is tragic to understand is that what God intended to be a present reality was rejected during the days of Samuel, and then relegated to a future expectation. “Oh Lord, have mercy,” the righteous prayed.

In the fulness of time, in matchless grace. God the Father did have mercy on Israel. Jesus came to restore the kingdom, and to teach that “the kingdom of God is near”. The nearness of the kingdom necessitates repentance and faith. “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14). Indeed, the kingdom of God was already present (Luke 17:20). “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).

The gospel of the kingdom which Jesus preached was the good news of repentance, redemption, and restoration to Divine fellowship to all who will receive Christ, and bow before Him as Lord and Savior. To be part of the kingdom of heaven is to consciously embrace the sovereign rule of God, and live life in His eternal presence as His children.

Not everyone will be part of the kingdom of God. Only those who receive the gospel of the kingdom can become citizens of heaven, and be freed from bondage to the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Why Not Now?

Have you come to the King of the kingdom of heaven? Do you know the Lord? Is the kingdom of God within you because you have repented of your sin, found redemption in the blood of Christ, and have been restored to Divine favor? Do you now walk in the glorious light of the gospel? If not, why not come to Jesus now?

“While we pray and while we plead,
While you see your soul’s deep need,
While our Father calls you home,
Will you not, my brother, come?

Why not now? Why not now?
Why not come to Jesus now?
Why not now? Why not now?
Why not come to Jesus now?

You have wandered far away;
Do not risk another day;
Do not turn from God your face,
But today accept His grace.

In the world you’ve failed to find
Aught of peace for troubled mind;
Come to Christ, on Him believe,
Peace and joy you shall receive.

Come to Christ, confession make;
Come to Christ, and pardon take;
Trust in Him from day to day,
He will keep you all the way.”

Daniel Whittle

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s