After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
These verses end with an exclamation mark. Jesus must have spoken these words with strong passion or feeling. The first words of Jesus recorded by Mark let us know there is very good news at hand and very near – believe it!
What is this thing called “the Kingdom of God”? What does it look like? Let me define it and then explain how I came to this definition. The Kingdom of God is the rule, reign, and realm of God in the hearts of men and women. The three “R’s” of the Kingdom. If the three “R’s” are present and in operation, you have entered the Kingdom of God.
A kingdom is a realm, a grouping together all forms of things that share fundamental characteristics such as the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms. Each one is separated by its characteristics. We can be a part of the greatest kingdom of all, God’s kingdom, where we share in His characteristics. Since you understand what a realm is, I will spend the rest of this mediation concentrating on the remaining “R’s” of the Kingdom: the rule and reign of God in your heart. This is where the Kingdom begins. You will not share in His characteristics, the realm of His Kingdom, if He is not ruling and reigning in your heart.
Many years ago, I had the pleasure of spending a day with six other pastors who had gathered to share and learn. A godly, Jesus-loving man by the name of John Brown was invited to join us. He spoke to us that day about the Kingdom of God for 12 hours. Yes, I said 12 hours! We broke for a meal or two but that was it. We lost all thought of time and each of us left that evening wanting more. To this day, it was one of the greatest life-changing moments of my life. John opened the scriptures and Holy Spirit illuminated truth about God’s Kingdom which we had never considered. I hope this mediation will inspire you in the same way.
From this encounter, I had new understanding about what Jesus was teaching and imparting to His disciples and followers in the three plus years of his ministry prior to the Cross. Consider Luke 18:31, an event recorded at the very end of Jesus’ ministry here on Earth in the flesh, “Jesus took the twelve aside and told them, ‘we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again’. The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them and they did not know what he was talking about.” What?! They had spent all that time with Jesus and the cross and resurrection was not even talked about. During that time, Jesus even sent them out to preach the “good news” but the message was not the cross and His resurrection (Luke 10:1-2). The cross and resurrection is what we, today, would call the Gospel, “good news”; and it truly is good news. However, the first good news to the disciples was the message of the Kingdom of God. This is what they preached. Later after the resurrection, they added to the “good news” the message of the cross and resurrection never stopping or disregarding the message about the Kingdom of God. The good news is about “the rule and reign of God in your heart.” Reign means to rule, to exercise authority, power, and dominion. Dominion means to have control. This was the good news and still is: Jesus has come to invite us all to his lordship and his leadership in our lives. What rules and reigns in your life? Who is in control of your life? When you talk about the Gospel do you include the Kingdom?
Now many would say the Kingdom of God is the place where we will live for eternity, a location and destination. Well, it is in part; but, that is not the place Jesus was focusing on when he was preaching about the Kingdom. Is was first about making Him the One who is Lord over your life. “Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, “Here it is,” or “There it is,” because the kingdom of God is within you.’” Luke 17: 20-21. What rules, what reigns in you? Is it Christ? Then you have entered the Kingdom of God! Finally, look at Luke 9:27. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” Again, it was not just a place where we would arrive at some future date. His Kingdom is now. You may reside there today as you enter into His reign, His rule and submit your all to His Lordship.
So, there you go. I trust you have a better picture of what the good news is, what the Kingdom of God, as defined by our Lord, is. When you read through the New Testament and put it all together, the good news is the cross, the resurrection of Christ and entering His Kingdom, a better kingdom than that of this world, but not one you must wait to enter, to enjoy. When you preach the gospel, preach the good news of the Kingdom, what Christ has done, what He wants to do in and through you now (His rule and reign in you) and the glory that is to come!
Love’s Influence For Everyone who truly lets Christ rule and reign in their life.