Summary: This sermon calls us, as disciples of Christ, to bear His message and continue His ministry throughout the world today.
Continuing The Ministry of Jesus: Kingdom Ministry
August 19, 2001
Dilovar goes back to his village to proclaim the gospel. He knew the risks… but he was willing to go thru whatever was necessary.
- this was an old village… hundreds of years old. The leaders were typically older men, so for someone as young as Dilovar to be speaking about such important matters was difficult to take.
- He would work really hard… and would spend most of his money on flour, which he would give away to the people in his village.
- He shared the gospel with a number of people, and together, we prayed for the sick and the demonized.
- Who was Dilovar to be doing things like this? And the rejected him… even though he had given so much.
A similar thing happened to Jesus… Joseph, the carpenter’son… someone most everyone knew. One day, he stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth and recited these verses from the prophet Isaiah:
18"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,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
Jesus put the scroll in its place and sat back down. And then, with everyone glued to Him, Jesus said, “Today, this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”.
- Nothing Jesus said could have been more powerful and controversial than those words.
- But those words do perfect job in expressing the mission of Jesus…
o He came to proclaim the good news that the rule and reign of God had come into this world in fierce opposition to the ruler of this world and that He was the Anointed One set apart to destroy the ultimate power of this world, sin and death.
o And He came to demonstrate the good news by giving sight to the blind and releasing the oppressed. Where Jesus would come and, as 1 John 3:8 says, “destroy the works of the evil one.”
So Jesus both proclaimed the Kingdom and He demonstrated the reality of the Kingdom of God by healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead.
o We typically call these things “signs and wonders” but what are they signs of? They are signs of the KoG breaking into our world.
o Whenever Jesus healed the sick or delivered the oppressed, He was testifying to the fact that the Kingdom of God was striking back at the Kingdom of this world… intent on taking back what was taken from Him…
§ And what is that? You and me.
Matthew writes in 4:23-24, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.”
Each and everyone of these miracles is a foreshadowing and promise of what the fullness of the Kingdom of God will bring when Jesus comes back to finish the job, forever destroying Satan, sin, and death.
In other words… the miracles Jesus performed were simply “signs” of what we would experience when the fullness of the Kingdom is established. So…
- casting out demons signals God’s invasion of the realm of Satan, and Satan’s final destruction.
- Healing bears witness to the end of all suffering
- Miraculous provisions of food tell us about the end of all human need
- Jesus’ restoration of the broken speaks of the fact that one day there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more fear, and no more shame.
- And raising the dead announces that death will be forever done away with for those who believe.
- Bottom-line, these miracles show us what the Kingdom of God is like… it reveals glimpses of God’s love, peace, and joy.
Most people can understand how Jesus was able to preach and demonstrate the KoG. But what about the disciples?
- for 3 years Jesus taught the disciples how to minister from hearts of compassion and mercy… He taught them how to hear the Father, how to grow in dependence on the Holy Spirit, how to be obedient to God’s leading, and to believe that God performs miracles thru each and every one of them.
o This was important! Remember how John got upset when, walking thru a village, he saw people (who had obviously been following Jesus around), praying for people in Jesus’ name… and seeing miracles take place. He wanted exclusive claim to the miracles!