If the Gospel is not merely about the salvation of human souls, then what is it about? Well, the New Testament states it clearly: it is about the Kingdom of God. Let’s take a look at the Gospel preached by NT characters to give a clear picture of this.
John the Baptist
1In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
— Matt. 3:1-2 [NIV]
In the OT prophecies (Mal. 3:1, Isa. 40:3-5), a forerunner of the Messiah is mentioned and designated as the messenger who will announce the coming of His Kingdom.
In Matthew chapter 3 and John chapters 1 and 3, we see that John the Baptist intentionally preached a message of repentance and baptized people so they would receive the King, who was coming with His Kingdom. When the dazzled rulers and scholars of the day sent messengers to ask him who he was, he plainly denied their imagination to treat him as the Prophet mentioned by Moses (Deut. 18:17-19). However, he pointed people to Jesus, declaring that He was both the Lamb of God and the Son of God, or the Messiah.
“I must preach the good news (Gospel) of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.”
—Luk. 4:43 [NIV]
After He was baptized by John, tested by Satan in the wilderness for 40 days, and endowed with the Holy Spirit, Jesus first preached in His hometown at the synagogue where he was brought up. While reading from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, he declared that He fulfilled the scripture he was reading (Isaiah 61), implying that He was the Messiah (the Anointed One after David). Because of such bold and unconventional preaching, these people, who knew His family and His upbringing (in the flesh), refused to accept His testimony. They actually ended up trying to push him off a cliff and tried to stone him. From there, He went to the region of Zebulun and Naphtali to fulfill another portion of scripture recorded in Isaiah 9:1-2. “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.‘ ” (Matt. 4:17)
He would now call his disciples and begin to teach them about the Kingdom of God. This was to fulfill Isa. 52:7. He performed many miracles, and signs and wonders accompanied His preaching. Yet not many believed Him, even His family refused to do so. (Mark 3:20) This is why Jesus was distressed and sorrowful for the blindness of His own people, even the ones closest to Him.
It is evident that Jesus began to instruct others about the Kingdom. He selected twelve men and imparted unto them spiritual authority and power and sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God. It was recorded in the Matt 10 and Luke 9. After this, Jesus sent out his 72 disciples as recorded in Luke 10 with the same task.
We’ll have more on this tomorrow. So ask somebody you care about to join us here.
This post is _Part 2_ in a series on the Kingdom of God. To continue with this series, click here for Part 3. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series and then read Pt 1.
Photo credit: cathyse97