In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:1-2 (ESV)
John the Baptist came as “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” (Matthew 3:3 ESV) He was aware that there was one coming after him who would usher in a new kind of kingdom rule on earth. Speaking of Jesus, John told the Pharisees and Sadducees, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11-12 ESV)
After John was arrested Jesus began his earthly ministry and continued the message of repentance for the kingdom was of heaven was at hand (Matthew 4:17). Mark writes, “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel 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 ESV)
In fact, the kingdom of heaven (God) was the main focus of Jesus’ ministry. Luke records, “. . . but he said to them, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.’” (Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:11 ESV) Matthew concurs “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.” (Matthew 4:23; 9:35 ESV) Jesus continued to speak of the things of the kingdom of God even after his death and resurrection (Acts 1:3).
Before his ascension, Jesus ensured the continuation of the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom by commissioning his disciples. “And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” (Luke 9:1-2, 6; Matthew 10:5-8 ESV)
Jesus later sent out others with the same instructions. “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. ‘Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” (Luke 10:1, 9 ESV)
As Jesus planned the gospel of the kingdom continued to be preached after his ascension. After the stoning of Stephen, Saul began to terrorize the church. A large number of believers were scattered from Jerusalem taking with them the gospel of the kingdom. Philip was one of those. “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:4-5, 12 ESV)
Later, following his conversion, Paul began his ministry of preaching the gospel of the kingdom which continued until his death (Acts 14:21-22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23). Luke writes speaking of Paul, “He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” (Acts 28:30-31 ESV)
The preaching of the gospel of the kingdom should be a priority of the church today. Not only is it necessary for the salvation of man (1 Corinthians 1:21) it is also necessary for the ushering in of the second coming of Jesus. Jesus said, “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.” (Matthew 24:14 ESV)
The message of the kingdom is: Repent of your sins and believe on Jesus Christ. He will save you from your sins and welcome you into his kingdom.
That’s why we praise him!