What Is Really The Good News Taught By Jesus? - The Gospel Is The Kingdom

What is the good news of the New Testament? That is a question I always thought had a simple answer: "Jesus died on the cross for our sins, so that we might have a proper relationship with him." Although, that statement is true, it is not the good news as it is described in the New Testament. I have compiled the relevant Scriptures here so you can decide for yourself. If I'm wrong, let me know because I like to know the truth.

I will post a verse and then follow that up with some commentary when I feel the need. The asterix marks more "relevant" verses.
Matt 4:17 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”

Early in his ministry Jesus started talking about the coming kingdom. This kingdom had been what people throughout the Old Testament had been waiting for. This kingdom would be a blessing to the world. It would finally be the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3: "Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." The kingdom that would bless the whole world was near! The people of Israel were expecting this, and Jesus’ proclamation that it was near was good news.

Matt 4:23 “Jesus went…preaching the good news of the kingdom”

Jesus' message could have so easily been the message of his death and the forgiveness of sins, but that isn't what he focused on. He focused on the good news of the kingdom.

*Matt 6:33 “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”

Our striving needs to be for things of the kingdom, not for selfish spiritual things or our own enjoyment. Our lives should not be about us but about God’s kingdom.

Matt 9:35 “Jesus went…preaching the good news of the kingdom”

Did Jesus go around preaching grace? Maybe. Did he go around preaching faith? At times. But what does this section of Scripture show that he preached - "the good news of the kingdom." Up until four years ago I had never heard, or at least consciously acknowledged hearing, the message of the kingdom of God. The gospel focused on Jesus giving us the forgiveness of sins and entry into heaven. However, that is not what the living and breathing Jesus taught. We seem to (maybe subconsciously) think we have better messages than the one Jesus taught, ones that might be more relevant or palatable to the souls of those around us. We need to get back to discovering the message of the kingdom that Jesus preached and start living it and proclaiming it from the rooftops, soapboxes, and pulpits.

*Matt 10:7 “Preach this message: ‘the kingdom of heaven is near’”

Jesus has the twelve and he is getting ready to send them out for the first time. It was like the moment before the big game where the coach would make or break his legacy by giving his team a motivational speech and instructions for the game ahead. During the pregame locker room speech Jesus recapped the important stuff for their first journey out. His mission on earth rested in the hands of those twelve that he was talking to. What did he tell them to preach? He tells them to preach the message of the kingdom of heaven. Maybe, we should follow suit and preach that same message.

Mark 1:14-15 “Jesus went…proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come…The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.’”

*Mark 9:1 “There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

This verse used to be one of those verses that made absolutely no sense to me. Jesus told people that the kingdom of God will come before some of those people standing in that crowd tasted death. If it hasn’t appeared yet, then some in that crowd would have to still be alive or Jesus was a liar.

However, Jesus is not a liar. The kingdom has come. Jesus brought the kingdom of God to earth when he established his Church. The Church and anywhere that God’s will breaks through into our reality is where the kingdom of God resides. We are part of the kingdom when we surrender to Jesus’ kingship and become active members in bringing His will into reality.

The event everyone in the Old Testament was waiting for has happened. We are so blessed to be part of it. Some of those people that Jesus talked to saw the kingdom of God come with power, and it is still here.

Mark 11:10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David”

*Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Here we have a list of some of the elements of God's kingdom. In God's kingdom the poor will hear the good news. The blind will receive sight and the oppressed will be freed. Sometimes we think that we do not see these events happening here on earth as they should in God's kingdom. That is true. God’s kingdom is not fully here, yet it is breaking through. A day will come when God's kingdom will arrive in its complete fullness. Until then, we are left with God's kingdom being one of many kingdoms on earth. We need to bring God’s will and His kingdom into our reality as much as possible. We need to preach the good news to the poor. We need to help the blind see. We need to help free those who are oppressed. We are the people on the ground to bring about God's kingdom.

*Luke 4:43 “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God…because that is why I was sent”

Jesus stated that the reason he was sent here was to preach the good news of the kingdom. We are often taught that the reason he was sent was to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins; however, that isn't what he said. He said that he came to preach the good news of the kingdom. His death on the cross is part of that bigger framework, not the goal. We should not make his death and resurrection the framework or else we miss the larger picture. The death and resurrection are glorious things indeed, but they are not why Jesus was sent. Jesus was sent to preach and bring about the kingdom.

Luke 8:1 “Jesus traveled…proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God”

Luke 9:11 “He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God”

Luke 9:60 “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Another example of Jesus telling another person to go and proclaim the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:62 “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Being part of the kingdom of God is the goal. That is what people were worried about being part of.

Luke 10:9 “Tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’”

Luke 10:11 “The kingdom of God is near”

Luke 16:16 “The good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”

*Luke 17:20-21 “Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact the kingdom of God is among you.”

The kingdom of God, the kingdom we are citizens of, is "not coming with things that can be observed." This physical, yet invisible kingdom is not what the Israelites were expecting when the Messiah would come. If I was a Pharisee, I would’ve replied to Jesus, "You mean to tell me that you're going to start a kingdom but that kingdom isn't going to be visible. That is not a kingdom. You say it is already here? I see Roman soldiers just down the street. How can you say the kingdom is here among us when I see the Roman kingdom all around me?"

God does not always do what is viewed as "rational". He had Gideon lower his army from 32,000 to 500 before invading another nation. He had Joshua march around Jericho blowing trumpets in order to defeat them. He saved the world by having Jesus die on a cross. In hindsight his acts are glorious, just like his kingdom. But at the time, they seem to be a little off.

The kingdom of God was there among them and is here among us. Although I live in America, my true citizenship is in another kingdom. All of us who profess to follow Christ need to realize that we are part of a kingdom that is among us. Our nationality belongs to God, not to any of the kingdoms of this world. Jesus’ kingdom might not have physical borders or a common language, but it is a kingdom nonetheless, a kingdom unlike any other.

Luke 18:28-30 “I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

People will do things for the sake of the kingdom of God. By this point I'm sure that you are realizing that the kingdom of God is a message of importance to Jesus.

*Acts 1:3 “He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”

Jesus raises from the dead and spends time teaching his disciples. This is really the final huddle. It's the last play in the Super Bowl. The quarterback has only a short time to motivate his players before they have to break and run the play that will decide the fate of the game. Their whole season depends on it. The quarterback reminds them of the most important thing. What did Jesus remind them of in a similar case? It wasn't the theological significance of his death on the cross. It wasn't his miracles. It wasn't his resurrection. Those things all fit in the context of the message of the kingdom of God. One last moment with the people he placed the future of his mission to, and the Bible records that he spoke about the kingdom of God.

Acts 8:12 “He (Philip) preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus.”

The message of the kingdom begins to be preached by those who are the early Christ followers.

Acts 19:8 “Paul…arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.”

Paul preached about the kingdom of God.

Acts 28:23 “From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets.”

Acts 28:30-31 "And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered."

We see more examples that Paul preached the kingdom of God. That was the goal of all the stories of Jesus' life. That is the good news that Jesus himself preached, and Paul continued to preach it.

Rom 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

*I Cor 15:24-25 “Then comes the end, when he (Christ) hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put al l his enemies under his feet.”

It's at the time when the kingdom is handed over to the Father that the kingdom will be fully and completely here. Until then, we will live in a kingdom that has no boundaries, a kingdom that is just a foretaste of the greater kingdom to come, yet it is still the kingdom.

*Rev 1:5-6 “To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father.”

We are priests in this kingdom. There are no soldiers, no union workers, no corporate executives, no janitors, no policemen, just priests.

Rev 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.”
What a glorious day that will be!