The Gospel of the Kingdom – Greg Albrecht
When John the Baptist prepared the way for the first coming of Jesus, he proclaimed GOOD NEWS – the Glorious Promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here’s what Luke records John the Baptist saying, as he quoted from Isaiah 40:3-5, applying Isaiah’s prophecy to Jesus’ ministry and specifically, the beginning of the Kingdom of God.
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain shall be made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.” (Luke 3:4-6).
John the Baptist PREPARED THE WAY for Jesus – HE ANNOUNCED the gospel of the Kingdom of God – HE INTRODUCED Jesus.
What does the gospel of the Kingdom accomplish? What does Jesus produce as he lives his life in us? What do we as Christ-followers begin to experience as the risen Lord, the King of the Kingdom is the priority of our lives rather than the kingdoms of this world? What does the Glorious Promise look like?
- Valleys are filled in.
- Rough places become smooth.
- The oppression in this world ceases.
- Mountains of injustice and human power are flattened.
- Crooked paths of perversion and corruption are made straight.
John the Baptist and Isaiah were not talking, of course, of some future time when a literal description of the topography of this earth would change so dramatically so that the entire earth would then consist of a level plain, with no valleys and no mountains.
John the Baptist and the passage he cites in Isaiah are not describing a physical, literal Kingdom of God Highway and Road Department dispatching massive earth-moving equipment through all the mountain ranges of this world and turning them into a smooth and uniform flatland plain.
John the Baptist introduced Jesus and the gospel of the kingdom of God as the beginning of the righting of all wrongs, the beginning of a way of fairness and equity and the inauguration of the pouring out of the grace, mercy and love of God, in and through Jesus, creating a new creation, an equal playing field to and for “ALL PEOPLE.” This is God’s salvation. This is the Glorious Promise! This is the GOOD NEWS of the gospel producing a world where there are no favorites, no sweetheart deals and no backroom alliances that allow a few to prosper at the hands of the many who do not.
This word picture is a grand, sweeping metaphor. The Glorious Promise, a staggeringly beautiful word picture of what happens when Jesus is front and center, when he is King and when belief in the good news of the gospel is believed and followed. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God, the Good News of Jesus Christ:
- Is the beginning of the end of poverty, of injustice being made right.
- Is a beautiful gospel in which warfare begins to be overcome by peace.
- The freedom of slaves of all kinds being rescued, released, freed and emancipated.
- The healing of sickness and disease.
- The end of partisan politics and favoritism.
- The end of suffering at the hands of brutal, tyrannical governments and religion.
“He will judge among the nations and will settle disputes for many people. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).
Jesus Christ, the King of the Kingdom, does not now (while the Kingdom is still growing – we call it the already Kingdom – not fully enveloping the entire world) promote nor endorse warfare of any kind. Jesus Christ, the King of the Kingdom, will not, in the not-yet Kingdom (in some wonderful future time when the ways of God will cover the earth the way the seas do now – see Habakkuk 2:14) allow for war and bloodshed. The already (and not-yet) Kingdom of God is a kingdom of peace. When the entire world is one in and with Jesus Christ, there will be universal peace.
The Glorious Promise, the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ is about an end to invasions, like the one of the Ukraine by Russia and empire-building of any other nation, in our world now or in history. The Gospel of Jesus Christ will one day be fully realized and implemented in the yet-to-come fullness of the Kingdom of God when and where:
- Weapons of war will be transformed into agricultural implements.
- Nations will not engage in war against other nations.
- There will be no training centers or military academies where warfare is taught.
There can be no greater cause, no greater ideal, no dream more inspirational and uplifting, no objective or hope of greater significance than the Glorious Promise of the Kingdom of God. Together, as Friends and Partners of CWR/PTM, we proclaim the already and the not-yet Kingdom, as we follow Jesus on the Jesus Way. It is a privilege and honor to serve others in the name of Jesus – thanks for being on the team as we continue this proclamation and this announcement. God is graciously allowing us to introduce Jesus and point the way to him, and in so doing we are part of the BEST NEWS – THE GLORIOUS PROMISE OF THE GOOD NEWS – that anyone can ever read or hear. Thanks for your part in it!