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Kingdom Demonstrations

All Knowledge Is Interesting
Creative Commons License photo credit: swanksalot

I want to look at a few words in Jesus’ mission statement that will help us to clearly see the gospel the way Jesus preached it.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

There are some key words here in Luke 4 – that I want to explore.

Notice first, that Jesus is sent by God. Nobody appreciates a leader or a boss that has no authority. The leaders of Jesus day had no problems condemning, convicting people of sin, and judging. But, all these leaders had to go on was outward appearance. For the religious leaders they could only enforce outward traditions. If you obeyed ritual, if you “looked like” a good person – then you got an “A.” So it was all very external, but Jesus says,

Luke 6:37-38

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Jesus  preached a sincerity of the heart. Jesus’ Kingdom wasn’t about outward performance, it was about inward faithfulness. Jesus said, God’s Kingdom isn’t about judging and condemning, it’s about forgiveness. This is good news.

Second, when Jesus says he is to “preach” the good news, in the Greek bible – it’s all one word. It’s the word for “Gospel” but in the form of a verb. In other words, it doesn’t specifically say to orally announce the good news, it says to put the good news into motion.  More specifically Jesus says he is to “demonstrate” the good news, or to show the good news by “example.”

During Jesus’ own ministry, John the Baptist was put in prison, and I think as he sat there he began to wonder if he was in prison for the reasons he fought for, or perhaps if he was there in vain. So he sent out his disciples to Jesus:

Luke 7:18-23

John’s disciples informed him about all these things. John called two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord. They were to ask him, “Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?”

When they reached Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you. He asks, ‘Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?’” Right then, Jesus healed many of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he gave sight to a number of blind people.  Then he replied to John’s disciples, “Go, report to John what you have seen and heard. Those who were blind are able to see. Those who were crippled now walk. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. …And …good news is preached to the poor.  Happy is anyone who doesn’t stumble along the way because of me.”

John’s disciples ask, “Are you doing the work of the Messiah? Are you the King who was to come?” And Jesus says, “My work speaks for itself.” In fact if you notice again, everything Jesus says that he is doing is a demonstration of God’s Kingdom that all comes straight from the scroll of Isaiah. Jesus is recapping isn’t he? “I am doing everything I said I would do. All of Jesus’ teachings and miracles were all “demonstrations” of the Kingdom of God, and those who were Jesus’ witnesses, received that Good news.

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