When Jesus sent out His twelve disciples to do ministry, they had to proclaim only one message – the kingdom of heaven has come near. They preached so that people could have faith, that many would choose to become followers of Jesus, and that hope would come alive in their souls so that there would be inspiration to love the things of God more than the things of earth. The message was only as strong as the authority Jesus gave them to back it up with power – miracles.
When you think about it, these disciples had little to go on. They really did not know who Jesus was – especially the fact that He had not yet died and was resurrected – which is the core of our message today. It was the miracles that confirmed their authority and enabled the Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts and minds of people with the gospel message. Hope had been presented, and obedience to follow Christ came with that hope.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the kingdom coming near. He gave us access to God, all of His grace and forgiveness of sin. Therein lies our spiritual healing and no matter how sinful we are, how separated from God we have journeyed, we can draw near to Him and experience His grace. Grace is our hope. Grace lets us view our world and those surrounding us with that same hope. So we live differently, transformed, gracious, full of who God is. Thank you Jesus that your death and then resurrection gives us this hope of spending eternity with You.
Therein lies the truth of the Kingdom of God. Everything changes including our dreams and our hopes. The gospel that the disciples were given authority to proclaim was one of power – demonstrated and preached – touching everything. Unshakable and irresistible – it is our ultimate purpose.
Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.– Matthew 10:5-8