What was the Message of Jesus? While the kingdom of God was the central message of Jesus, many modern-day evangelists have virtually ignored it. A gospel of American invention has replaced the New Testament message of the “gospel of the Kingdom.” Many evangelists and even professors of Bible colleges would be hard-pressed to expound on the “gospel of the Kingdom.” Yet it is one of the first words from Jesus and the last message He spoke before returning to heaven (Mk.1:14-15; Acts 1:3).
When John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness he said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 3:1-2). His hearers understood he was referring to the future age prophesied by the Old Testament prophets. It would be a time when the Messianic King would defeat the enemies of Israel and usher in the Messianic Age of an everlasting kingdom of peace and prosperity. The long awaited expectation had arrived in Jesus.
Jesus told the crowds, “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: because that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43). The 12 Apostles also traveled with Him and were commissioned by Him to preach the same message as He did (Mt. 10:1,7-8). They went out and preached that people should repent (Mk. 6:12), showing the connection of accepting the rule of God (kingdom) by the call of repentance. They also confessed their sins and were baptized as they believed in the Messianic King-Jesus (Mt. 3:1-2,6,8; John 4:1; Acts 19:4-6). Jesus tried to explain that He had to be a suffering Messiah to overthrow Satan’s authority legally and permanently (Luke 24:26; Col. 2:15). Later 70 others were commissioned to preach the kingdom message also (Lk. 10:1,9).
The gospel of the Kingdom has to be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then the end will come (Mt. 24:14). In the interim Christ’s disciples would be the witnesses of the Messiah King. The gospel of the Kingdom is not an invitation to “invite Jesus into your heart,” neither is it centered on heaven awaiting believers at death. It’s focus is on accepting the rule of God by rejecting Satan’s, receiving the grace of the cross that results in personal relationship with God (Acts 26:18-20), for its by grace that we are saved (Eph. 2:5). The kingdom is received through the New Birth (Jn. 3:3, 5). The kingdom is the realm in which one accepts God’s rule (1 Thess. 1:9). It is a realm in which one must enter now (Col. 1:13-14), yet it is a realm in which one will enter in the future (Mt. 25:31,34). In this age there is death; in the kingdom of God, eternal life (Mk. 10:29-30). In this age the righteous and wicked are mixed together (Mt. 13:47-51). In the future all wickedness and sin will be destroyed (Mt. 13:41). At present, Satan is viewed as the “god of this age,” in the future kingdom, God’s rule will have destroyed Satan and righteousness will displace evil (2 Cor. 4:4-5; Rev. 11:15; Mt. 13:36-43).
Have you accepted the offer of God’s kingdom? Have you turned from darkness to light? Have you turned from the authority of Satan unto the authority of God? Have you received the gift of forgiveness and the inheritance of eternal life? If not, repent for the kingdom of God (rule of God) has arrived.
God calls upon all men everywhere to submit voluntarily to His rule. Thus the kingdom now is said to be in a mystery form (Mk. 4:11), and is not seen by natural observation. When God however, asserts His rule universally, the kingdom will appear in glory and will manifest to all (Daniel 2:44).