Dear Friends,

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. (Acts 10:36–38).

Here is the wonderful truth of the “gospel”. It is the peace God was seeking to make, revealed through our Lord Jesus Christ, which was first announced through John the Baptist, as he came to be known.

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: 

 A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 

 Prepare the way for the Lord; 

 make his paths straight!

 (Mt 3:1–3)

Yes, John was making a prophet’s introduction to the appearing of their and our Messiah. (Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all). There needed to be a turning back to God who had not spoken to His people prophetically for 400 years because of their persistent rebellion. Here the prophet was called to bring a sign for repentance; water baptism for a sign of cleansing of their hearts. That was the response to hearing the Word of God that God was now speaking to His people again. As John put it, “the kingdom of heaven has come near”. Truly, he was saying that the God of heaven has come near again! As John prophesied, he was preparing the way for the Lord (the One of Supreme authority). The people thought that their Messiah would come and rule as “king”. They did not know He would come with demonstration of supreme spiritual authority, somewhat hidden from their eyes!

Jesus came into His ministry anointed with the Holy Spirit and power after being baptized by John! Jesus showed the way He was establishing for His disciples. Yes, the kingdom of God had come. Repentance towards God and turning away from sin was essential. Immediately, Jesus showed the favour of God through miracles, signs and wonders. It was all good. God was revealing that He did not want His people to remain under the other power, the power of the devil. Those who would press into God, who was with Jesus, got the greatest blessing of reconciliation (peace) God could possibly give in His mercy. The One who had supreme authority was at work by the Holy Spirit. No judgment, no curse for disobedience, just “the slate being wiped clean” so to speak! God was showing His love and mercy like never before although it was going to be the opposite for THE SIN Jesus received at the end of His work.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 

(2 Co 5:21). 

No one could have known Jesus was to be the sin offering acceptable to God. It was the only way to totally destroy the work of the devil for good! For Him flogging and crucifixion to death. For us eternal redemption and peace with God for evermore through believing Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Quite a revelation for everybody!

Jesus sent out His disciples  He was training to do the same good as Him. They had no “props”, a minimum of belongings so they stayed focused on God. What did they see when they preached? They had a simple commission:-

Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you. (Lk 10:9). 

The good Jesus was previously showing them as they watched, was their experience under delegated authority from Jesus.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 

(Lk 10:17).

That was “good”! The people actually benefitted from the same mercy of God. Wonderful for the disciples. Yes, the good needed the power of God through the Holy Spirit and nothing else. How much we need that “good” to be seen from the church of Christ again today. Religion may have a different description for “good”. I think I know which I would choose!

God bless you,

Pastor Keith Pascoe.