“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. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.” Matthew 4:23-24 (ESV)
It seems that everywhere Jesus preached the good news he performed miracles; signs and wonders (Luke 7:21). The combination of the message and ministry of Jesus were the manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus said, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matthew 12:28 ESV) The signs and wonders Jesus performed was part of the proclamation of the kingdom of God (Matthew 9:35). Not only did Jesus proclaim and demonstrate the kingdom, he commissioned his disciples to heal the sick and proclaim “the kingdom of God has come near you” (Luke 9:1; 10:9). Jesus wanted people to understand that God’s kingdom consists of more than just words but power also (1 Corinthians 4:20).
After his ascension, the apostles of Jesus continued the ministry of the kingdom (Acts 2:42; 5:12). In fact, there were occasions when the ministry of the gospel preceded the message. For instance; Peter and John brought healing to a lame man. Afterwards Peter preached the gospel and about five thousand people were saved (Acts 3; 4:1) All of the residents of Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord after they saw the healing of Aeneas; a man who was bedridden and paralyzed for eight years (Acts 9:32). Many in Joppa believed in the Lord when it became known that Dorcas had been raised from the dead (Acts 9:36-42).
There were other men besides the twelve apostles who participated in the ministry of the kingdom. In Acts 6 Luke records that Stephen, who was a deacon (Acts 6:5), did great wonders and signs among the people (Acts 6:8). After persecution arose in Jerusalem, Philip, also a deacon (Acts 6:5), went to Samaria and performed signs and wonders there (Acts 8:4-13). Barnabas was also granted grace for signs and wonders to be done by his hands (Acts 14:1-3). Paul, who considered himself an apostle “born out of due time,” (1 Corinthians 15:8) performed extraordinary miracles “so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them (Acts 19:12).
Certainly preaching the gospel, signs and wonders do not comprise all of the work of the kingdom. In his epistles, Paul listed many gifts that the Holy Spirit distributes as he wills for the furthering of the kingdom (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; Ephesians 4:11-12). There is no valid argument for the cessation of these gifts. We see in the gospels and throughout the epistles that the ministry to the poor and needy is paramount in the work of the kingdom (Matthew 25:33-40; Luke 4:18; Romans 15:26; Galatians 2:10; James 2:14-16).
Spiritual blindness, sickness and death still have a foothold in the earth. Satan will continue to work until Jesus totally destroys him at his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 20:2-3). However, God has given the church power over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19; John 14:12). He has given the keys of the kingdom to his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18-19) It is the pleasure of the Father to give the kingdom to his children (Luke 12:32). Jesus even said that those who believed in him and in the works he did would do greater works because he was going to the Father (John 14:12).
There is a spiritual war taking place. Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12 ESV) God has given his church authority to do the business of the kingdom until he comes and brings with him the fullness of the kingdom (Luke 19:11-27). Paul speaking of Jesus wrote, “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-25 ESV)
That’s why we praise him!