Jesus’ Message

Luke 4:43 – But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”

If you asked the average Christian what the main message of Jesus was I think it would be easy to predict their reply.  Perhaps they would say “love for others” or “that he died for our sins.”  If Jesus only preached about love for others, how does this make him different than any other moral teacher?  Did Jesus ever preach about his death?  A cursory examination of this might prove to be surprising.

But from this amazing verse in Luke Jesus tells us why he was sent.

Matthew 9:35 – Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

His disciples were actually preached about this Kingdom too, as the gospel. 

Matthew 10:7 – “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Luke 9:1-2 – And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.

Luke 9:6 – Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

They did this before they even understood that he would die for their sins!

Matthew 16:21-23 – From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

It was from this time he began speaking to his disciples about his death, yet they were already preaching the gospel!  Also note, he was speaking this to his disciples, not the crowds in general.  And as this record shows, it was not as if Peter and the other disciples embraced this information and began preaching it to others.

So that we don’t think that Luke 4:43 is an isolated incedent, look who else adopted the mission of Jesus:

Phillip – Acts 8:12 – But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.

After hearing this information, people were becoming Christians!

Paul – Acts 20:25-27 – “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.”

Acts 28:30-31 – And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.

Now, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, we see this information was included with the preaching of the Kingdom of God.  These records show the gospel being preached, not to the exclusion of the preaching of the Kingdom.

For those who didn’t know what Jesus always spoke about, perhaps an investigation into what the Kingdom of God is might be needed.  If Jesus is our Lord, shouldn’t we believe what he taught?  Shouldn’t we preach what he preached? 

One last point to ponder: if the gospel about Kingdom is a foreign topic to your church or your own preaching, and yet it is the very theme of the gospel message of Jesus himself, have you ever even preached the gospel?!

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by maxgrace on June 19, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Victor,
    You recently commented about the kingdom on my blog. I reply to that comment, and rather than lay a long post on you, I’ll just leave a link. The reply is toward the bottom. If you want this to go up on your blog, great. If not, no problem. I respect your decision.

    Bill @ http://www.maxgrace.com

    http://maxgrace.wordpress.com/2007/06/18/what-is-the-gospel/#comment-523

    Reply

  2. Bill, thanks for taking the time to write. I’d be happy to discuss this more here and/or on my blog in the post you already commented on.

    A few quick things:

    I think that Paul is continuing this Kingdom idea when he says what he did in I Corinthians 15. I think that it is significant that Paul uses the language that he does. Verse 3 says that he delivered to them “as of first importance…” This does not mean that Paul simply went around talking to people that Jesus died for their sins and that that was the gospel in full. I think the key lies in the rest of the verse – “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”

    Notice that Paul does not say that “Jesus” died for their sins, although obviously Jesus did – Paul told people that the Messiah died for their sins. This was a big deal. The King of the coming Kingdom of God was the one who died in stead of you and I! This indeed is good news.

    But at the same time, for Jesus to be the Christ (Messiah) speaks more than simply a common title of Jesus or his last name (Jesus of Mary and Joseph Christ). Sadly this has become what most think of when they read the word “Christ.” The Christ/Messiah was the anointed ruler over the people of God, the descendant of David who would rule forever. For people of the time to be well acquainted with this understanding, for Paul to preach that the Messiah died for their sins would have been a very big deal.

    But my reason in bringing this up is the kingdom understanding is directly tied to this word Christ/Messiah and thus is apart of what is being communicated when Paul/Peter/Phillip, etc “preached Christ.”

    Paul tells us elsewhere that “I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24).” Some would finish reading here and declare that Paul was the preacher of the gospel of grace. This is what he preached about. However, in the very next breath, Paul continues and says:

    “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God (Acts 20:25).”

    The book of Acts closes with the following description of what Paul did:

    “And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered (Acts 28:30-31).”

    I think it would be odd for Paul to preach different things to different people, when there is only one gospel message that saves, we hear about this truth so often from Paul himself! Rather than looking at these texts with a modern evangelical understanding and comparing it to what we hear preached today, I’ve had to consider the original intention of the preachers themselves and change my perspective.

    Much of this has occur ed when I have looked at the Scriptures with a fresh desire to understand what is written (I have seen the problems that dispensationalism and other Bible-filters can cause.. I am not a dispensationalist either.)

    I don’t think that the Kingdom of God is simply a metaphor or another way to talk about the church. I think it is the hope of the Christian and will begin when Jesus returns to fix all that is wrong with the world.

    I Corinthians 15:24 – “then comes the end, when He hands over (AK)the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished (AM)all rule and all authority and power.”

    May that day come quickly, when God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And may we challenge men to repent in light of the soon coming Kingdom judgement and turn to the Messiah, who died so that we could be forgiven and enter into this time of life in the age to come.

    Look forward to talking more about this soon.

    Reply

  3. For more thoughts on the meaning of “Christ” as the Messiah/King of the Kingdom check out this article:

    King of the Kingdom

    Reply

  4. Posted by Dustin on June 20, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Just have to throw my theological mumbo-jumbo in here…

    Here are a few quotes from the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament:

    “That in Paul we never have the ‘Basileia tou Theou’ as the content, as in Mt. or Lk., is purely accidental, since he knows the concept and very seldom defines any specific content.” (TDNT 2:730

    “In 1 C. 15:1 the Gospel formerly preached is summed up in terms of the death, burial, resurrection and resurrection apperances of the risen Lord. Neither passage is meant to be a full statement of what Paul understood by the Gospel.” (TDNT 2:730)

    cf. also Romans 1:1-4 and 2:16

    Dustin

    Reply

  5. for more on Paul’s way of expressing the political gospel listen to this episode from The Byte Show.

    Reply

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