Jesus came to announce His Kingdom!
A careful reading of the four gospels will reveal exactly what the mission of Jesus the Christ was. N.T. Wright notes how “The “kingdom of heaven” is not about people going to heaven. It is about the rule of heaven coming to earth. When Matthew has Jesus talking about heaven’s kingdom, he means that heaven—in other words, the God of heaven—is establishing his sovereign rule not just in heaven, but on earth as well” (Wright, How God Became King, 2016).
You see, we who are called “children of God,” being born from above, from the Kingdom where Christ came from received the “Kingdom” power and authority when the Spirit of Holiness came upon the Church in Acts Chapter two. On the day of Pentecost, we received the Spirit of Christ (the Spirit of the “Anointed One”) the KING! And regarding Jesus “purpose” in coming to earth He says right before His crucifixion, “Jesus answered, [Pilate] “My kingdom is not of this world…. Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:36-37).
When Jesus was teaching His disciples how to pray, He said to pray like this…”Your kingdom come [Father],
your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). But what exactly was Jesus saying in this prayer? The gospels spell out Jesus’ mission on earth. It was the message from a “King announcing His Kingdom rule”. Jesus’ message, or the gospel message for that matter, was never a message about “how to get to heaven”. It has always been about “God breaking into our reality on earth”. Simply because the “Holy-Spirit” or God’s Spirit, or Christ’s Spirit, is here now, in every Christian, the Kingdom of God is here. We are right now capable of “walking with God” as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. The reality of the spiritual realm is right here in our midst, through the Spirit of God with us now. Though we do not see it with our physical eyes.
Now, I AM NOT SAYING that “we are bringing in the Kingdom through our good works, or that we will create the Kingdom”. What I AM SAYING is that the Holy Spirit has been left here “in us” to…announce His Kingdom rule and to display His Kingdom rule. We, children of God, are the “Salt and Light” of the world. We are here “reflecting” Christ’s reign here through our love of God, one another, and toward the world through word and deed. And, just as Jesus said, we will be “witnesses” to the ends of the earth, and once the entire world has heard the gospel, being “the good news of the KINGDOM of God”…THEN the end will come. So, we are simply “TESTIFIERS” of the Kingdom and witnesses to it. It is true that if we die, we go to be with God, as the apostle Paul said. But the goal of our salvation is to testify to the reality of the Kingdom of God breaking into earth, now.
So, what does the “Kingdom” look like? It looks like what transpired in the book of Acts. There was unity in the Church. There were lives transformed, and sharing, giving, selling, following. And people were healed, miracles happened, people were cared for, and fed. The hopeless found hope and the proud were humbled. Lives were changed and the small world at that time was transformed…supernaturally. That is a picture of the KINGDOM. Not a perfect picture, but a picture none the less. And that picture is meant to spread to the ends of the earth as, now pay attention to this especially important word here, “witness” to the perfect Kingdom above, which will come when Christ sets His feet down again upon this earth. And when Satan, and death are finally destroyed forever. So, as the writer of Hebrews says, we do not see it physically yet, as a reality, but it is a spiritual reality even now.
Finally, then, what is the “gospel” which we are to spread? It is, as it always was meant to be, the “GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD” Therefore, let us stop “selling tickets to heaven” and begin declaring the glory and power of the reality of “fellowship” with Christ. United with God, in His Kingdom, and of “walking with God in the Garden.” And living in the reality of allowing the Spirit of Jesus to flow in love to one another and to the world…. but remember what Jesus said above, that Kingdom is grounded on “truth.” And all who are of the truth will “listen”