38After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. 39Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.
40As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. 41Demons also came out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah.
42At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. 43But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.
Casting out demons, healing the sick, and proclaiming the good news of God's kingdom. In these brief terms, this is what Jesus did in his ministry.
A lot of people think Christianity is about love. While love is important, that's not what Christianity is chiefly about. Not love?
No, not chiefly about love. Christianity is about a Story. Christianity is not about a set of religious beliefs or commands, principles of living, or becoming more "spiritual."
Christianity is about the Story of Jesus who fulfills the older story of God who creates and who seeks to re-create what's been broken and lost. The answer for the brokenness, which includes our state of sin and guilt, is Jesus, the Son of God, who came in the form of a royal personage, called the Messiah.
The coming of the King means the Kingdom is at hand. Because the King is here, the Kingdom of God is here. And wherever the Kingdom of God is truly here, there are evident signs or changes that come with this great in-breaking of the Kingdom: people are healed and delivered, people believe on the good news of that the Kingdom has come.
Later on in his earthly ministry, Jesus will offer himself as a sacrifice on behalf of this broken world, taking upon himself the judgment that's due for those who are guilty. His sacrifice will cancel the debt of sin, will wipe away the power and judgment of sin, and will remove the wages of sin, which is death itself.
But this too is included in the good news of the Kingdom of God. God's Kingdom does not maintain the status quo. God's Kingdom is ever expanding and increasing, breaking into darkness, demolishing lies and illusions, awakening the dead, injecting real hope for a real world, bringing people together in reconciling love, releasing peace of mind, creating safe havens for families, releasing the abundance of God's riches, giving birth to new dreams and creative solutions.
You name it, if there's life to be had, God's Kingdom can bring it.
This dynamic reality of the Kingdom of God is ultimately what energizes and transforms our situations and state of mind. We become more fully alive in God. The news that we've heard about Jesus becomes more than news that's reported. It's the news of new stories of God's mercy, compassion, and power. When God shows up, Resurrection Life shows up. When Resurrection Life shows up, everything changes. Resurrection Life is none other than the Kingdom of God coming fully upon our broken world.
Let's pray: Father God, we thank you for the coming of Jesus the Messiah who came to bring the Kingdom of God. We confess that this coming has changed human history and our lives. May your Kingdom continue to increase and have its tremendous effects. We want to partner with you in advancing the Kingdom, beginning with our circle of family, friends, and church, and expanding to the workplace, cities, and nations. Encourage us to join the Story of your Kingdom Come. In Jesus' name, Amen.