What would you say is the central message Jesus taught? Have you ever considered that fundamental theme? Did Christ focus His teaching on a specific subject?
You might be surprised to find that His gospel message wasn’t just “Invite Me into your heart and be saved.” It’s also startling to realize that He didn’t say you’ll go to live with Him in heaven when you die.
If you’re to understand the point of Jesus’ teaching, His message and His mission, you need to be sure you understand the gospel—the good news—that Jesus Himself actually proclaimed. It is vital to know what He preached!
So what exactly is the gospel Jesus brought and taught? It seems like a simple enough question, but most don’t give it much thought. Did Jesus simply preach about Himself? Did His primary message center only on Him being the prophesied Savior?
Most realize that Jesus preached the gospel. That word gospel, as well as the Greek word it’s translated from, means “good news” or the “good message”—but what exactly is that good message? Can you explain it?
If you fail to understand Jesus’ central message, you will fail to grasp the whole point of His teachings, the reason for His coming and why He promises to come again. You’ll also fail to comprehend dozens of vital prophecies throughout the Bible. Jesus’ true message ties all of these things together in a theme that’s truly good news and that has great implications for you, for your future and for the entire world!
The gospel of the Kingdom of God
Jesus Himself described His purpose and the message He brought: “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43 Luke 4:43And he said to them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.
American King James Version×, New Living Translation).
His message was the good news of the Kingdom of God. Do you know what He was talking about? This Kingdom is the focus of Jesus’ message, yet it has often been misunderstood or even ignored.
Here’s another shocking thought that may surprise you: The major subject of Jesus’ preaching was not about going to heaven at death. Imagine that! He taught that you won’t go to live in heaven when you die, but instead that you will be resurrected in the future and that heaven is coming to earth. The heart and core of His teaching was the Kingdom of God, and the good news—the gospel—is that the Kingdom of God would be established right here on earth.
The Kingdom wasn’t just a minor part of His teaching. Jesus emphasized it right from the very beginning of His ministry:
“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14-15 Mark 1:14-15 14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
American King James Version×).
Jesus’ teaching focused on the gospel, a message of good news, of His coming Kingdom. You see here that right from the very start He wasn’t talking about a heavenly existence after death. Instead, He taught that people must believe that He would come again and establish God’s government. He also said there’s a requirement in order to enter that Kingdom of God— repentance.
Did you know that Jesus did something powerful after the crucifixion and resurrection that emphasized the importance of His teaching about the Kingdom of God? He appeared to His disciples, “being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3 Acts 1:3To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
American King James Version×). Jesus wanted to stress to His followers that the Kingdom is coming to this earth. He was assuring them that God’s plan was on track!
A personal call to the Kingdom
Some have reasoned that since we’re to have Jesus in our hearts, then the Kingdom of God also exists only in people’s hearts as well. A confrontation Jesus had with some of the Pharisees has been used to promote this misguided idea.
But let’s read it carefully: “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, “See here!” or “See there!” For indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you’” (Luke 17:20-21 Luke 17:20-21 20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God comes not with observation:
21 Neither shall they say, See here! or, see there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
American King James Version×).
Now let’s think about that for a moment. Who were the Pharisees? They were religious teachers of the day who generally opposed Jesus and were often portrayed as His enemies. So what can we conclude? Christ was definitely not saying that the Kingdom of God was in them!
What was He saying, then? The Greek phrase entos humon, translated “within you,” would be more accurately translated “in your midst” ( Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, “Within”). The Kingdom of God was plainly not in the hearts of the Pharisees who withstood Christ, many even wanting to kill Him!
What Jesus was telling them was that as the King of the Kingdom of God, He was right there in their midst expounding His message and doing the work of the Kingdom. But what did they do? They rejected Him and despised His gospel of the Kingdom. They outright rejected Him and His return as King!
In the future the whole world will be utterly shocked when Jesus Christ returns to the earth. That’s what the Bible foretells. That’s when the Kingdom will truly be in the midst of all mankind!
Now the best part is that you can get a head start. Jesus can personally be your King now. Christ as King of the Kingdom can be in your life today, if you will learn and believe what He actually taught, repent of sin and obey His teaching!
The Kingdom and our place in it was right at the heart of Jesus’ message: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×). Everyone needs to seek God’s Kingdom now. It should be everyone’s primary goal, the central focus of your life. God’s wonderful Kingdom holds the solution to your personal challenges and for all mankind’s problems and dilemmas. No wonder Christ constantly taught about it!
When you begin to understand, you’ll find it jumps out at you throughout the Bible. Notice Luke 8 where Jesus “began a tour of the cities and villages of Galilee to announce the coming of the Kingdom of God” ( Luke 8:1 Luke 8:1And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
American King James Version×, Living Bible).
I’m sure you see there’s little doubt that Jesus taught with a forward-looking perspective. He wanted all to look to a time of hope, beyond our personal problems, beyond the stressful condition that this world is in. Since God rules over all creation, the Kingdom exists now in part, but Christ looked beyond today to a time when the entire world will be submitted to God’s rule!
An earthly Kingdom
Some are shocked to find that Christ’s teaching about the Kingdom of God was actually building on the message God had revealed centuries earlier through the biblical prophets. God inspired these men of old to write of a coming world-ruling government. That’s a literal Kingdom in which the Messiah would administer God’s law and His way of life—a way that will bring peace and prosperity to humanity.
Here’s an example from the prophet Daniel: “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14 Daniel 7:13-14 13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
American King James Version×, emphasis added throughout).
So we see this isn’t something just in people’s hearts. It’s not about going to heaven at death. It’s a literal Kingdom, an empire, a government to come under the direction and authority of Jesus Christ that will rule over all the peoples of the earth. Mankind’s corrupt governments will all be destroyed (see Daniel 2:44 Daniel 2:44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
American King James Version×). There will be no more crooked rule, no more fraudulent systems of men. Jesus will return and change all of that!
The prophet Isaiah was also inspired to write many prophecies about the Kingdom of God. You’re probably familiar with this one: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever” (Isaiah 9:6-7 Isaiah 9:6-7 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
American King James Version×).
Isaiah pictured a powerful Savior and Ruler who willl save and lead all nations from Jerusalem at His return. After the Kingdom of God is established on earth, Jesus will bring a time of true world peace. It will also be a time of great spiritual awakening to God’s truth for all the nations—when, as Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
American King James Version×says, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”!
When will Jesus bring the Kingdom?
After Jesus’ resurrection, His disciples had one burning question for Him: “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6 Acts 1:6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
American King James Version×). They knew that a big part of Jesus’ mission involved restoring a literal Kingdom on earth, prompting their question to Him. He promised to be the Ruler of that godly realm and that the disciples will rule under Him.
Perhaps a similar question comes to your mind. When will Christ return and establish the Kingdom of God? In Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×we read that this Kingdom will be established at the prophesied seventh and last trumpet: “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever’” (English Standard Version).
We are drawing ever closer to that time when Jesus will return and set up that government!
This world is in desperate need of God’s rule. In fact, Christ taught that He will return at the most pivotal time in history, when humanity will stagger on the brink of annihilation. In His shocking prophecy of Matthew 24, He tells us He will intervene at a time when this world is in crisis, “a time of great distress, such as there has never been before since the beginning of the world, and will never be again,” when conditions will be so terrible that “if the time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive” (verses 21-22, Revised English Bible).
The rest of His prophecy here, and also in the parallel accounts in Mark 13 and Luke 21, are like reading today’s headlines. Terror, earthquakes, killings, persecution, war, hunger, disaster. God doesn’t want you to be unaware of the seriousness of the time in which we live. Jesus said that the final events leading up to His return “will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:35 Luke 21:35For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
American King James Version×).
Jesus makes it clear that this will be the most horrifying and deadly period of mankind’s history, with relatively few surviving. After these painful lessons, humanity will finally be humbled and willingly submit to Jesus’ reign as King.
Coming: a changed world
We desperately need good news. The best news is the gospel message of Christ’s coming world-ruling Kingdom! Humanity will at last see a world of peace, a world with happiness, a world with clear purpose. Jesus will finally put an end to war and other violence, starvation, disease and every other form of suffering.
Your Savior will come. He will return from heaven to save and take over the world. This isn’t just good news, it’s great news—and the only hope for a world that’s rushing straightforward to destruction!
Are you sick and tired of the evil world we live in? So is God! He wants us to enter His eternal Kingdom as His children, resurrected to eternal life in His family. God says, “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Corinthians 6:18And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
American King James Version×). How wonderful that time will be!
If we’re to enter that Kingdom, God must transform us from physical and mortal existence to life that is spiritual and immortal. Paul wrote that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:50-53 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 50 Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
American King James Version×).
Can you imagine it? And the process towards this future begins today. God wants us to learn His laws and live His ways right now, in this life. You can have a different life, a better life, right now—living the way your Creator designed you to live!
Then, when ultimately transformed in the future, “the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43 Matthew 13:43Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who has ears to hear, let him hear.
American King James Version×). If you’re willing to repent and believe and live under God’s rule now as He commands, He extends to you the opportunity to live forever sharing in His immortal glory!
Can you catch the vision of what God has in store? Just imagine it! God gives eternal life to those who will live and reign with Christ in the coming Kingdom. They will be “kings and priests to our God … reign[ing] on the earth” to help teach and bring others into this eternal Kingdom (Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
American King James Version×). Now that’s a promise! Jesus guarantees it.
As the prophet Daniel had written: “Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (Daniel 7:27 Daniel 7:27And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
American King James Version×). We see that Jesus the King will return and establish God’s government right here on earth, and we as His people will have a wonderful part in it!
Called to live according to the Kingdom now
It’s not good enough to just know these things. There’s more. All of this brings us to this question: What should we do? Christ taught, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13 Matthew 24:13But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
American King James Version×). So how will you endure?
First, your life must be guided by a goal, a godly vision of the future. You must receive the Kingdom and accept it right now to enter it later. Now’s the time to prepare. If you’re to endure the troubles that lie ahead, it’s going to require spiritual strength. Right now you can have the laws of God’s Kingdom written in your heart and in your mind, and you can have the King of that Kingdom live in you to help you obey His laws. If you truly want the future that Jesus proclaimed, you must begin living by its terms today!
So don’t wait. Now is the time to develop a much deeper relationship with God. Remember: Spiritual strength comes from our Savior, the source of strength. Make Jesus Christ the King of your life right now!
Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God constantly. The gospel of that Kingdom holds the key to understanding our world’s troubles and to their true solution.
Don’t forget, Jesus said, “Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Now is the time to change. Seek God’s guidance and help. Stop the sin in your life. Get spiritually ready. Choose His rule in your life now as you look forward to His coming rule beyond today.
Take His message to heart and “believe the gospel.” Be dedicated and make the choice to be fully committed. Follow His teachings. Follow His commandments. Follow in His footsteps so that you will be part of that great Kingdom!