Why is the Kingdom of God Such Good News?
When Jesus came preaching to Israel that they should repent for the Kingdom of God was at hand what was he really saying? What did he mean when He talked about the "Good News of the Kingdom?" (see Matthew 4:17 and 4:23)
First of all, repent just means, “change your thinking.” We have attached a religious meaning to that word and we usually associate it with tears and prayers for forgiveness of sin along with promises to behave better. This is not what it means at all. It simply means to “change one’s thinking” about something.
The phrase “the Kingdom of God” or the “Kingdom of Heaven” simply means the rule of God or the “area under the rule of God.”
Jesus was saying to his fellow Israelites, “Change your thinking – the rule of God is available right here and now.” Most of the Jewish people of his time anticipated the coming of a political leader called the Messiah, who would throw off the oppression of the Roman conquerors and re-establish Israel as an independent political kingdom. They were looking for a return to the glory days of King David when the kingdom of Israel covered a huge amount of territory and dominated the region with military power.
Jesus was saying –change your thinking about this. I have not come to bring a political kingdom, but rather a spiritual one. In addition, He was saying that the Rule of God was available to his hearers right here and now. This was an offer to people to come under the leadership of God. We see in the gospels that when people came under the influence of Jesus' leadership the following things happened:
- their sins were forgiven,
- their sicknesses were healed
- they were set free from demonic oppression.
- some folks were raised from the dead
- In addition, some folks received financial miracles (e.g. the huge catch of fish for Peter in his fishing business)
- some received miracles of character transformation (e.g. Zaccheus the tax collector paying back four times the money that he had stolen from others).
These are what we can call the blessings of the Kingdom. Jesus demonstrated these blessings of the Kingdom over and over throughout the gospels. This is why the present and available Kingdom is such good news!
This same Kingdom and its blessings are available to us in the 21st century. We have a King – Jesus of Nazareth - who we can give our allegiance to. If we surrender our wills to His leadership He will bring our lives into a place of provision, protection, peace, forgiveness, healing and freedom from spiritual oppression. The rule of God takes place in our hearts as we surrender to Him. The greater the degree of our surrender to Him, then the greater the degree of His Life and blessings in us. This surrender is not a one time "decision." It is a daily surrender to the Leadership of our King. It means that every day we are trusting Him to lead us in His purpose for our lives while seeking to do the things that please Him.
Our King Jesus secured all of these blessings for us through His death, burial and resurrection. Today, let's surrender our wills to Him and trust that His leadership will bring His justice, peace and joy into our lives and through our lives to others.