Summary: In Jesus the fullness of the Kingdom of God is realized. A study of Kingdom ideas in the four Gospels.
3. THE MESSIAH: THE KINGDOM IS HERE
A. The Kingdom is at hand
Gabriel’s message to Mary (Matthew 1:33) in the first chapter of the New Testament, is that the Kingdom of Her Son will know no end! The first words recorded of John the Baptist, only two chapters later: “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” According to Mark’s first chapter, Jesus’ initial message is exactly the same! ( Mark 1:15) Jesus even tells his disciples, at the very beginning, to preach the Gospel of “the kingdom” (Matthew 10:7, Luke 9:2,60). The Greek for “at hand” is engus, which means “near” whether in time or place. The Kingdom is very close to you now, and about to get a lot closer. Heaven has touched earth. My rule continues, and for some, begins.
B. The Kingdom is the Message of Jesus
Jesus’ Good News centers in this kingdom. This is what he and all the apostles, including Paul, preached (Matthew 4:23, 9:35 Mark 1:14, Luke 8:1, 9:11). It is this gospel of the kingdom that shall be preached in all the world just before the end comes (Matthew 24:14).
C. Jesus’ Description of Kingdom People
The beatitudes describe a meek lowly persecuted people who are in fact to be citizens of the kingdom of heaven ( Matthew 5). The meek here are not said to populate heaven at first, but to inherit the earth. We reign with Christ. Here. In this heavenly kingdom-come-to-earth, men who have honored God’s Word perfectly in our present condition shall be considered great in that kingdom, while popular but error-serving teachers now will be shamed then (Matthew 5:19). The formalities of righteousness will not be honored in that land, but only the inward graces (Matthew 5:20). Those who in this life started out for the kingdom but turned back, will not be considered worthy to enter (Luke 9:62). Kingdom people are to be occupied with the kingdom fully, praying its soon coming, and seeking it above all else (Matthew 6:10, 33). The one least in this Kingdom of Jesus will be considered greater than the public prophet, like John the Baptist, though John, in men’s eyes, is the greatest who has arisen so far.
D. Jesus declares the Kingdom has actually arrived!
In Matthew 11:12, Jesus indicates that the kingdom being experienced by the Jews now, i.e., the defunct reign of David, is in the process of experiencing severe violence. He refers perhaps to the violent dealings with the Baptist and Himself, two announcers of the Kingdom both persecuted for this daring word. Perhaps it is the spiritually violent who take the kingdom of God personally. He suggests in all of this that the Kingdom is alive, and He is its latest and greatest representative. In the next chapter an even bolder statement, arguing that His power over demons is a clear proof that the kingdom has come! Here He defines the kingdom as the authority and power of God in the Name of Jesus. His continued power over disease, nature, and evil spirits, confirm His claim to be the King of Israel.