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Leading people into a maturing new life in Jesus Christ

The Kingdom and Power

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As Jesus is completing his earthly mission he tells his followers: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Mt 24:14).

Today, we can often live for years as professed Christians and rarely hear about this good news of the kingdom. Yet, it is still the very center of the ministry and message of Jesus. What’s involved with this kingdom-gospel?

First, is a declaration of the presence of a God of mercy, acceptance and forgiveness. Jesus announces “the year of the Lord’s favor” (Lk 4:19). And when people receive Jesus he declares them forgiven, born from above, and members of his Father’s family. In Jesus’ death and resurrection God is reaching out to confused and directionless people, “sheep without a shepherd” as Jesus puts it, and offering a restored relationship based on confidence in him.

Second, this good news of God reigning, this life in which what God’s wants done is actually carried out, involves a development of people who also carry this “gospel of the Kingdom.”

Jesus calls people with the words, “Follow me.” He develops a new community whose basis is the love of this God who is reaching out, and all the while Jesus is developing within each one of them the very character of the Father they see in Jesus. As Jesus embodies God’s reign and does the Father’s will in everything, so his followers are to grow in this kingdom-integrity until they are the light of the world, until God uses them to lead people into a maturing new life in Jesus Christ.

And this brings us, finally, along with declaration and development, to kingdom demonstration. “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (Mt 4:23). He “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38).

As Jesus exclaims, embodies and enacts the kingdom through the Father, are we not to do the same through the power of the Spirit? Jesus tells his first disciples, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses …” (Acts 1:8).

Can we not receive the same Spirit from one who “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mt 3:11, Lk 3:16)? Is it not “this gospel of the kingdom” — and everything connected to it — that must go to the world? Is it possible that we have reduced the good news to information alone? Is kingdom transformation and power still available?

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Contributed by Pastor Larry Zuchowski


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