Here’s our next stop:
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
From that time on Jesus began to preach the good news of God: “The time has come,” he said, “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
(Luke 4:14-15, Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14-15)
Jesus’ first recorded sermon clocked in at a mere 17 words. Today, we’ll examine the first 11.
What exactly is “the kingdom of God”?
God’s kingdom is depicted in three phases throughout the Bible:
- The kingdom was prophesied. Old Testament prophets foretold that God would establish a kingdom that would never ever end (Daniel 2:44, 7:13-14, Jeremiah 23:5-6).
- The kingdom is near. John the Baptist and then Jesus described God’s kingdom as being “near” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17, 10:7). Jesus came to earth, died for us and then rose again to be with the Father. But we’re still here. So our present reality is a sort of “now but not yet” kingdom. Jesus rules the hearts of all who acknowledge him as king but he hasn’t booted Satan off the planet yet.
- The kingdom will be eternal. Jesus will come again, conquer Satan once and for all and give us “a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11).
The kingdom of God was one of Jesus’ favorite topics. We’ll hear much more from him on this topic but for now here’s a sneak preview:
- Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6:20)
- People will come from east and west and north and south, and take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. (Luke 13:29)
- It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. (Luke 18:25)
- No one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life. (Luke 18:29-30)
When Jesus’ disciples asked him how to pray, even that focused squarely on the kingdom. Pray through these words of Jesus right now with all your heart:
OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today
our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have
forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
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