The Gospel - your invitation to the Kingdom of God

492 invitation to the kingdom of god

Everyone has an idea of ​​right and wrong, and everyone has already done something wrong, even according to their own ideas. "To err is human," says a well-known proverb. Everyone has once disappointed a friend, broken a promise, hurt someone else's feelings. Everyone knows guilt.

Therefore people do not want to have anything to do with God. They do not want a day of judgment because they know that they can not stand before God with a clear conscience. They know they ought to obey him, but they also know that they have not. They are ashamed and feel guilty. How can their debt be redeemed? How to cleanse the consciousness? "Forgiveness is divine," concludes the cue. It is God who forgives.

Many people know this saying, but they do not believe that God is divine enough to forgive their sins. You still feel guilty. They still fear the appearance of God and the day of judgment.

But God has appeared before - in the person of Jesus Christ. He came not to condemn, but to save. He brought a message of forgiveness and he died on a cross to guarantee that we can be forgiven.

The message of Jesus, the message of the Cross, is good news for those who feel guilty. Jesus, God and man in one, has taken our punishment. All people who are humble enough to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ will be forgiven. We need this good news. Christ's gospel brings peace of mind, happiness and a personal victory.

The true gospel, the good news, is the gospel that Christ preached. The apostles also preached this gospel: Jesus Christ, the Crucified (1, Kor 2,2), Jesus Christ in Christians, the hope of glory (Kol 1,27), the resurrection from the dead, the message of hope and salvation for humanity. This is the gospel of the kingdom of God that Jesus preached.

The good news for all people

"But after John was taken prisoner, Jesus came to Galilee and preached the gospel of God, saying, The time has come, and the kingdom of God has come. Repent [repent, repent] and believe in the gospel! "(Mk 1,14" 15). This gospel that Jesus brought is the "good news" - one that makes "the full message that changes and transforms life. The gospel not only convicts and converts, but in the end it will upset everyone who rejects it. The gospel is "a power of God that blesses all who believe in it" (Rom 1,16). The gospel is God's invitation to us to lead a life on a very different level. It is the good news that there is an inheritance waiting for us that will come into our possession when Christ comes again. It is also an invitation to an invigorating spiritual reality that can already be ours. Paul calls the gospel "Evan" gelium of Christ "(1, Kor 9,12).

"Gospel of God" (Rom 15,16) and "Gospel of Peace" (Eph 6,15). Starting from Jesus, he begins to redefine the Jewish view of the Kingdom of God, focusing on the universal significance of the first coming of Christ. The Jesus who wandered the dusty streets of Judea and Galilee, Paul teaches, is now the risen Christ who sits at the right hand of God and is "the head of all powers and powers" (Col. 2,10). According to Paul, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are "first" in the gospel; they are the key events in God's plan (1, Kor 15,1-11). The gospel is the good news for the poor and oppressed. History has a purpose. In the end, justice will triumph, not power.

The pierced hand has triumphed over the armored fist. The kingdom of evil gives way to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, an order of things that Christians are already experiencing in part.

Paul emphasized this aspect of the gospel to the Colossians: "With joy says thanks to the Father, who has made you worthy of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has saved us from the power of darkness and has put us into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have salvation, the remission of sins "(Kol 1,12 and 14).

For all Christians, the gospel is and was present reality and future hope. The Risen Christ, the Lord is over time, space and everything that happens down here is the champion for the Christians. He who was raised to heaven is the omnipresent source of power (Eph3,20-21).

The good news is that Jesus Christ overcame every obstacle in his earthly life. The Way of the Cross is a hard but victorious path into the kingdom of God. Therefore, Paul can put the gospel in a nutshell, "For I thought it right to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ the Crucified" (1, Kor 2,2).

The big reversal

When Jesus appeared in Galilee and preached the gospel earnestly, he expected an answer. He also expects an answer from us today. But Jesus' invitation to enter the kingdom was not kept in a vacuum. Jesus' call to the Kingdom of God was accompanied by impressive signs and wonders that made a country that was under Roman rule sit up. That is one reason why Jesus needed to clarify what he meant by the Kingdom of God. The Jews of the time of Jesus were waiting for a leader who would restore to their nation the glory of the times of David and Solomon. But the message of Jesus was "twice revolutionary," as Oxford scholar NT Wright writes. First, he took the common expectation that a Jewish superstate would throw off the Roman yoke, turning it into something completely different. He made of the widespread hope for political liberation a message of spiritual salvation: the Gospel!

"The kingdom of God has come, he seemed to say, but it is not what you have imagined." Jesus shocked people with the consequences of his good news. "But many who are first will become the last and the last will be the first" (Mt 19,30).

"There will be howls and teeth chattering," he said to his Jewish compatriots, "if you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you are pushed out" (Lk 13,28).

The great Last Supper was there for everyone (Lk 14,16-24). The Gentiles were also invited to the Kingdom of God. And a second was no less revolutionary.

This Prophet of Nazareth seemed to have plenty of time for the outlaws - from lepers and cripples to greedy tax collectors - and sometimes even for the hated Roman oppressors. The good news that Jesus brought contradicted all expectations, even those of his faithful disciples (Lk 9,51-56). Again and again Jesus said that the kingdom that they expected in the future was already dynamically present in his ministry. After a particularly dramatic episode, he said, "But if I drive out the evil spirits through God's finger, then the kingdom of God has come to you" (Lk 11,20). In other words, the people who saw the work of Jesus experienced the presence of the future. In at least three ways, Jesus turned the usual expectations upside down:

  • Jesus taught the good news that the kingdom of God is a pure gift - the reign of God that has already brought healing. So Jesus used the "year of grace of the Lord" (Lk 4,19, Jes 61,1-2). But "admitted" to the empire were the weary and loaded, the poor and beggars, delinquent children and penitent customs officers, penitent whores and outsiders of society. For black sheep and spiritually lost sheep, he declared himself her shepherd.
  • The good news of Jesus was also for the people who were willing to turn to God through sincere repentance. These sincere repentant sinners would find in God a generous father who scans the horizon for his wandering sons and daughters and sees them when they are "still far away" (Lk 15,20). The good news of the gospel implied that anyone who says "God, be merciful to me, sinner" (Lk 18,13) and sincerely thinks he will have compassionate hearing with God. Always. "Ask, it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock on it, it will open to you "(Lk 11,9). For those who believed and turned away from the ways of the world, this was the best news they could hear.
  • The gospel of Jesus also meant that nothing could stop the victory of the kingdom that Jesus had brought, even if it looked the opposite. This empire would face bitter, merciless resistance, but ultimately it would triumph in supernatural power and glory.

Christ said to his disciples, "If the Son of Man come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory, and all the nations shall be gathered before him. And he will separate them from each other, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats "(Mt 25,31-32).

So the good news of Jesus had a dynamic tension between the "already" and the "not yet". The Gospel of the kingdom referred to the rule of God that already existed - "See the blind and go lame, the lepers will clean and the deaf hear, the dead will rise, and the poor will be preached the gospel" (Mt. 11,5).

But the kingdom was "not yet" there in the sense that its full fulfillment was yet to come. To understand the gospel means to understand this twofold aspect: on the one hand the promised presence of the king, who already lives in his people, and on the other hand his dramatic return.

The good news of your salvation

The missionary Paulus helped initiate the second Great Gospel movement - its spread from tiny Judea to the highly civilized Greco-Roman world of the mid-first century. Paul, the converted Christian persecutor, directs the blinding light of the gospel through the prism of everyday life. As he praises the glorified Christ, he is also concerned with the practical consequences of the gospel. Despite the fanatical resistance, Paul conveys to the other Christians the breathtaking significance of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection: "Even to you, once you were alien and hostile in evil works, he has now been reconciled by the death of his mortal body so that he may make you holy and blameless and immaculate before his face; if you only remain in faith, founded and firm, and do not depart from the hope of the gospel that you have heard and that is preached to all creatures under heaven. I became his servant, Paul, "(Kol 1,21 and 23). Reconciled. Flawless. Grace. Salvation. Forgiveness. And not just in the future, but here and now. This is the gospel of Paul.

The resurrection, the culmination of the Synoptics and John's onward journey (John 20,31), releases the inner power of the gospel for the daily life of the Christian. The resurrection of Christ confirms the gospel.

Therefore, as Paul teaches, those events in distant Judea give hope to all men: "I am not ashamed of the gospel; for it is a power of God that blesses all who believe in it, the Jews first and also the Greeks. For therein is revealed the righteousness that is before God, which comes from faith in faith. " (Rom 1,16-17).

A call to live the future here and now

The apostle John enriches the gospel with another dimension. It portrays Jesus as the "disciple whom he loved" (John 19,26) remembers him, a man with the heart of a shepherd, a church leader with a deep love for the people with their worries and fears.

"Jesus did many other things before his disciples who are not written in this book. But these are written to make you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by faith you may have life in his name "(Jn 20,30-31).

John's account of the gospel has its core in the remarkable statement, "that you may have life by faith". John miraculously conveys another aspect of the gospel: Jesus Christ in moments of greatest personal closeness. John gives a living account of the personal, serving presence of the Messiah.

In John's Gospel, we encounter a Christ who was a powerful public preacher (Joh 7,37-46). We see Jesus warm and hospitable. From his inviting call "Come and see!" (Jn 1,39) to the challenge of doubting Thomas to place his finger in the stigmata on his hands (Joh 20,27), here is portrayed in an unforgettable way the one who became flesh and under We lived (Joh 1,14).

People felt so welcome and comfortable with Jesus that they had a lively exchange with him (Joh 6,58). They were lying next to him eating and eating from the same plate (Joh 13,23-26). They loved him so deeply that they swam ashore as soon as they saw him to share fish that he had fried himself (Joh 21,7-14).

The Gospel of John reminds us how much the gospel revolves around Jesus Christ, his example and the eternal life that we receive through him (Joh 10,10).

It reminds us that it is not enough to preach the gospel. We have to live it too. The apostle Johan nes gives us courage: others could be won through our example of sharing the good news of the kingdom of God with us. This is what happened to the Samaritan woman who met Jesus Christ at the well (Joh 4,27-30), and Mary of Magdala (Joh 20,10-18).

The one who wept at the tomb of Lazarus, the humble servant who washed his disciples' feet, lives today. He gives us his presence through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit:

"He who loves me will keep my word; and my father will love him and we will come to him and take up residence with him ... Do not frighten your heart and be afraid "(Joh 14,23 and 27).

Jesus is actively leading His people through the Holy Spirit today. His invitation is as personal and encouraging as ever: "Come and see!" (Joh 1,39).

by Neil Earle

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