Jesus was the only preacher who could announce good news from God, and then say, “Here I am. Look to Me. Hope has arrived.” Every other faithful gospel preacher since has pointed others to Jesus, never to himself.
But what is the gospel?
- Gospel means good news.
- The Bible says the gospel is God’s gospel.
- This means that God is the one who decided the content and man’s required response to the news.
- So, it is God’s good news.
- But it is not generic good news. It is very specific. It is God’s good news concerning the person and work of His Son.
In Mark 1:14-15, we see the very first ministry activity of the Lord Jesus. It is preaching. Of course, Jesus performed other kinds of ministry, for example, healing. But preaching was his top priority. Announcing God’s good news was even more important than physical or mental healing, casting out demons, or performing other miracles. What is so important about this good news that Jesus made it His first and foremost priority?
Mark informs us that Jesus’s preaching of the gospel included three essential truths.
God’s promise is fulfilled.
“The time is fulfilled.” What “time”? What does Jesus mean? It’s the time of God’s promised King. The coming which had been promised for thousands of years. God’s prophetic timetable had set the date long beforehand. Messiah’s time is now here.
- He is the Seed of the Woman, promised to Adam and Eve, who would crush Satan’ head as Satan bruised the Savior’s heel.
- He is the promised son of Abraham through whom the whole world would be blessed.
- Jesus is the ultimate Lamb of God to whom Moses and the Law pointed.
- This is the promised son of David who would come as King.
- This is the One and only—the One of whom the prophets spoke.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Gal. 4:4-5)
God’s kingdom has come.
What does Jesus mean by “the kingdom of God is at hand”? Jesus is announcing Himself. He is revealing that the long-awaited King is now here. He was offering Himself to Israel as her legitimate King. Sadly, we know from the rest of the Gospel accounts, Israel rejects His gracious offer. Instead of bowing before her promised King, the Jews harden their hearts, and crucify Him.
But God’s kingdom has still come. Jesus said so. So what does this statement mean? When the Bible speaks of the kingdom of God, it is speaking mainly of two entities. A spiritual kingdom, and a physical kingdom
The kingdom of God is, first, spiritual in nature. Jesus revealed this to Pontius Pilate when the governor asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?” And Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). My kingdom is not physical. It is spiritual.
The spiritual kingdom of God has come, and is being built now. The way into the God’s kingdom is through the new birth (John 3:1-3). When God redeems a sinner, when the Spirit breathes life into a spiritually dead sinner, there is a new creation that takes place. And that new creature in Christ becomes a citizen in the kingdom of heaven. Christ is now reigning as King in the hearts of those who follow Him. This reality encouraged Paul when he was imprisoned for the sake of Christ (Phil. 3:20-21).
The physical kingdom, that is, the earthly reign of Jesus, when He is again physically present on Earth, will come later—after the Second Coming. The book of the Revelation describes this kingdom. When the Lord Jesus returns, He will judge His enemies, and set up his 1,000 year reign on earth. Satan, the Antichrist, and False Prophet will be cast into the eternal Lake of Fire. Then the Lord will bring in the New Heavens and New Earth, where all who know Jesus will live as citizens forever in the eternal kingdom (Rev. 20, 21).
So, it’s important to make a distinction between different phases of the coming of the kingdom. The spiritual kingdom is here, now. The physical kingdom is coming later.
God’s salvation is for sinners.
There’s only one way to get into the kingdom of God: “repent and believe in the gospel.” Repentance and faith are two sides of the coin the Bible calls belief, or saving faith. It’s not enough to believe in God. Even the demons believe in God. But the Bible teaches that someone who simply believes in God, but does not show evidence of true salvation, has deceived himself (James 2:18-20).
To be saved from eternal judgment you must repent of sin and unbelief, and decisively turn to Jesus Christ. There must be a moment when you experience conversion. A moment when you turn from sin to Christ. From darkness to light. From bondage to freedom. From being spiritually dead to being made alive in Jesus Christ. This is what happens when you truly believe the gospel.
This is the gospel according to Jesus.
- Jesus Christ is the Promised One. In His first and second comings, He fulfills all Messianic prophecies. Have you embraced Him as such?
- He is the king of Kings and lord of Lords. The kingdom of God is here. Are you a citizen?
- He is the one and only Savior of sinners. The Bible says there is only one mediator between God and man. He is the God-man, Christ Jesus.
- He alone is the acceptable sacrifice and high priest whom we need to reconcile us to God.
Jesus, God’s only Son, was put to death for sin. He was buried. He was raised victorious three days later—offering final proof that His atoning work on the cross was acceptable to the Father. He truly had endured the wrath of God against our sin.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21).
To be a Christian—to truly believe the gospel—means this is your only hope.
Listen to the sermon, Jesus Was a Gospel Preacher.