Virtually everyone in our Western world and much of the rest of the world has heard of Jesus Christ, but have they heard His message? What is the good news He proclaimed for three and a half years before His crucifixion? You think you know? Don’t be too sure! It’s not what most people think…
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
Virtually everyone in our Western world and much of the rest of the world has heard of Jesus Christ, but have they heard His message? What is the good news He proclaimed for three and a half years before His crucifixion? You think you know? Don’t be too sure! It’s not what most people think. On today’s Tomorrow’s World program, I’ll show you that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ has been neglected. So, stay tuned because you may be surprised!
Welcome to Tomorrow’s World. On today’s program we are going to look into the Bible, and see what the message was that Jesus of Nazareth brought to this world. You may very well be surprised, even shocked, to learn the truth of this GOOD NEWS. After all, good news is what the term gospel means. So, what exactly is that good news?
Whatever that message was that Jesus preached, it was controversial, because the religious leaders of His day were so upset with Him that they stirred up His own countrymen and put Him to death! Why such hatred?
People everywhere refer to Jesus’ message as the gospel. We hear of:
The message of the gospel
The old fashion gospel
And the four gospels
But what exactly is the gospel? Many believe they know, but do they? Do you?
Perhaps the most common belief is that the gospel is about the person of Jesus, about His death, burial and resurrection. Or, it may simply be put, “Jesus died for our sins.” Now this truly IS good news, because we have all sinned and the penalty of sin, according to the Bible is death! As it tells us in Romans 6:23:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Yes, that truly is good news. Indeed, we have no hope without that sacrifice! That IS part of the gospel, part of the good news. But here are a few questions to consider: What was the message Jesus preached PRIOR to his death, burial, and resurrection? Was He merely marking time until His crucifixion? Did what He preach during that time cease to be important?
If so, why was that message called the gospel? The answer is nearly totally neglected, but it’s easily found in the pages of your Bible. All you have to do is open the book and believe what it says. Sadly, almost no one understands or pays attention to that message. On today’s Tomorrow’s World program, I’ll show you what the message was that turned the world upside down. I’ll also be offering a free study resource (Do You Believe the True Gospel?) that asks and answers the questions:
What does it mean to be born again?
When will it appear?
Be sure to take down the contact information shown on your screen to order your free copy.
This message that Jesus brought was so powerful that the religious leaders of His day couldn’t stand it. And today’s religious leaders are apparently no different!
The first chapter of the book of Mark starts at the beginning of Jesus’ three-and-a-half year ministry, and tells us exactly what that message was:
“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).
Do you realize that the Kingdom of God is the message Jesus said He was sent to proclaim? Notice this clear statement in Luke 4 and verses 42 and 43:
“…And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.’”
Now if that is the message Jesus said He was to deliver, why is it that we hear so little about this Kingdom of God? And what IS that Kingdom? It’s not what most people think!
And Jesus was not who many people think He was. Let me give you an example. When I was eleven or twelve years of age, someone asked my Sunday school teacher: “Why did Jesus speak in parables?” The answer? “Jesus’ audience was made up of farmers, fishermen, and shepherds. He spoke in language that they could understand.”
That certainly made sense at the time, but there’s a problem. It’s totally wrong! How can we know? Jesus’ own disciples asked Him the exact same question, and He gives us HIS reason for speaking in parables. We read in the book of Matthew, the 13th chapter and beginning in verse 10:
“And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’ He answered and said to them, ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: “Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive…”’” (Matthew 13:10–14).
Instead of making the meaning understandable, Jesus tells us He spoke in parables to hide the meaning from the majority—so says your Bible! And we read in Mark’s account of this same incident,
“But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples” (Mark 4:34).
Let’s look at those parables and see what they tell us about this Kingdom of God, but first I want to offer you an important resource: Do You Believe the True Gospel? Today we’re exploring the message Jesus proclaimed for three and a half years prior to His crucifixion. This is vital knowledge that any professing Christian needs to know. How can anyone claim to be a follower of Christ and not know His message? Do You Believe the True Gospel? gives the REAL GOOD NEWS! It explains the Kingdom of God and the opportunity for you to be part of it, and we are talking about something far more than floating around on clouds, or staring into the face of God forever. So, order your free copy of Do You Believe the True Gospel? And I’ll be right back to show you how Jesus used parables to proclaim the Kingdom of God.
What WAS that message Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed for three and a half years? Why is it neglected today? And how did Jesus use parables to proclaim that message? In one after another of His parables, the subject is the Kingdom of God. Notice Mark 4, beginning in verse 26:
“The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4:26–29).
Here we learn that the Kingdom of God is not something that would come immediately. It will come about through a process of planting, growing, and maturing. Mark 4:30 begins another Kingdom of God parable:
“Then He said, ‘To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade’” (Mark 4:30–32).
This parable tells us that the Kingdom would have the smallest of beginnings, but will eventually grow great. After a three-and-a-half year ministry, marked by mighty miracles and culminating in His resurrection from the dead, there were only about 120 true believers, as Acts 1:15 attests. Yet, before the first century was complete, this powerful message expanded from the tiny Jewish state to all parts of the Roman empire. As we read in Acts 17 verse 6.
“But when they did not find [Paul and Silas], they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, ‘These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.’”
However, this does not explain the complete fulfillment of the parable. Many scriptures tell us that Jesus must come back to this earth to set up His Kingdom and only then is when the mustard seed will branch out to cover the whole world.
People of His day understood His message was about a literal kingdom to be set up on earth, but they didn’t understand the time when it would come, nor did they understand how it would come about. Notice Luke 19, beginning in verse 11:
“Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore He said: ‘A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return’” (Luke 19:11–12).
This parable goes on to explain a truth almost universally neglected and it has relevance for you. It shows that YOU can help solve the big problems our world faces, such as war, poverty, hunger, and disease. That’s why I want to remind you of today’s important offer: Do You Believe the True Gospel? You may understand the significance of Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf, but you need to know in far greater detail than I have time to give you on this program, exactly what was the message that turned the Roman world upside down. You need to know WHY they killed Jesus. And you need to know why His message had everything to do with YOUR future. Do You Believe the True Gospel? gives insight straight from the pages of the Bible. That message, though neglected in most churches, is specific and easily understood by anyone who truly seeks to know. Jesus proclaimed that message. So did Paul and others.
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We’re asking today: What is the message Jesus of Nazareth preached for three and a half years? That message is found in the Parable of the Nobleman and has great significance for your future. I’ll explain this parable in detail, but I must first explain what your future is NOT! The Sermon on the Mount is considered the heart and core of Jesus’ teachings. It begins with what are known as the beatitudes, or beautiful attitudes. The first one is found in Matthew 5, verse 3, where it says:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Many assume from this that the reward of the saved is going to heaven. We hear of meeting St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, of “getting our wings,” and of floating around on clouds playing harps for all eternity. But notice that this is not the reward offered in verse 5:
Now that’s a downer! The “poor in spirit” go to heaven, but the “meek” stay on earth! Is that the way it is? I bring out this seeming contradiction, which in truth is NOT a contradiction, to make an important distinction. Let’s look at these two verses more carefully.
When it says “theirs is the kingdom of heaven” it’s referring to possession or ownership. For example, when we say “Kingdom of God” we do not think of the Kingdom being in God. Instead, we understand that it is God’s Kingdom. But when it says, “inherit the earth,” that is speaking of the location of our inheritance.
Matthew, unlike the other three gospel writers, most often uses the expression “kingdom of heaven,” meaning heaven’s kingdom. But, it’s evident that this expression is interchangeable with “Kingdom of God.” Notice it in Matthew 19:23 & 24:
“Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Now back to the Parable of the Nobleman. As we read earlier, this parable was given.
“…because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately” (Luke 19:11).
Note that people understood Jesus’ message was about the Kingdom of God and they were looking for a very real kingdom to be set up at that time. Jesus then went on to explain that it would NOT appear immediately, but that,
“A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return” (Luke 19:12).
Note that He would go away, but return. After His resurrection, He went to heaven to be with His Father, but as we see in this scripture, He will come back. In the meantime,
“He called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come’” (v. 13).
Upon His return, the Nobleman, a reference to Christ, gives out rewards to His servants. How many who read this parable comprehend the significance? It’s easy to read it and miss what Jesus was saying. Here is what their rewards are:
“Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities’” (Luke 19:16–17).
In like manner, the one who gained five minas was given authority over five cities.
Do you comprehend that rulership is what Christ is offering to His faithful servants? Both the Old Testament and the New Testament speak of the future rule of the Messiah here on earth. Scripture after scripture tells us our reward is to be kings and priests ruling on earth for 1,000 years. The latter part of Revelation 20, verse 4 describes those who put it all on the line during this life:
“…And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
But where will they live and where will they reign? Revelation 5, verses 9 & 10 give the answer:
“…You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”
Life after death is something that most of us wonder about. CAN we live again? The gospel of Jesus Christ gives us the answer and that good news goes beyond His death and resurrection. Do You Believe the True Gospel? points out scriptures from your Bible that explain the future that you can have, and it’s far greater than floating on clouds or looking into the face of God for all eternity. You need this vital resource and it can be yours free of charge.
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Jesus’ gospel, that which He proclaimed for three and a half years prior to His death and resurrection, has been largely ignored. Why? Why cast aside the hope He came to bring? It’s one thing to know that your sins can be forgiven—we should never ignore that message—but we must ask, “For what eternal purpose?” What is it all about in the end? If there is life after death, what will it be like? What might be our reward? Jesus came with a clear message that He was coming back to rule on this earth and about a kingdom into which you may be born. Why is that message neglected?
A rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked:
“Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16).
Christ’s response was for him to keep the commandments. Now that should surprise those who say the commandments are done away, but laying that issue aside for now, Jesus gave him one single act that would slay his false god (his money), and at the same time bring him in line with the command against coveting. He told him to go and sell all that he had and give to the poor. By doing so, he would be laying up treasure in heaven—that treasure that Christ would bring with Him when He returns. This man went away sorrowful, unable to bring himself to do so.
After that, Jesus pointed out how difficult it is for those who trust in their riches to enter the Kingdom of God; and this brought His disciples to ask, in effect, “What’s in it for us?” Note Jesus’ response, here in Matthew 19, verse 28:
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging [or ruling] the twelve tribes of Israel.’”
Now that is very specific! And is there a connection with the Parable of the Nobleman going into a far country? When we look at the big picture found in the scriptures, we find that there is a continuity of thought. There is a kingdom coming and God reveals to us the structure. Let’s begin with a well-known statement by the Apostle Paul about this kingdom. You often hear it read during funerals, but do people understand it? 1 Corinthians 15:50:
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.”
This scripture alone destroys many false teachings about the Kingdom of God. No, it is not set up in our hearts. No, it is not here and now. The Kingdom of God is a very real kingdom, just as Jesus taught His disciples regarding their reward, and just as He taught in the Parable of the Nobleman. And, as we have just read, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom. Pilate asked Jesus,
“Are You the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33).
And Jesus explained,
“My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36).
So when does the Kingdom of God come? The 30th chapter of Jeremiah proclaims a time of trouble for the whole house of Jacob. That means the Jews, but it also means the other tribes of Israel. As we already saw, Jesus promised the twelve Apostles rulership, each one over one of the twelve tribes of Israel, but the Jews are only one tribe. Now let’s read Jeremiah 30 and verse 9:
“But they [all twelve tribes] shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.”
When was the last time you heard that preached from the pulpit? Yes, the LORD—that is the returning Messiah, Jesus Christ—will be Ruler over them, but notice also that King David will be resurrected to rule all Israel.
The 14th chapter of Zechariah describes that same time when all nations will gather together against Jerusalem and the Jews. It will be a terrible time, but the prophecy shows that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, will return to save them, and here is the result of His intervention, verse 9:
“And the LORD shall be King over all the earth.”
Do you see a pattern my friends? Jesus Christ is to rule over all the earth. King David will be resurrected to rule over all the tribes of Israel. And the Apostles will also be resurrected at that time, and each will rule over one of the twelve tribes. Then the Parable of the Nobleman shows that those who are Christ’s at His coming will be given rulership over cities. Some will be given greater responsibility based on what they do in this life. The pattern is clear.
Now I know that some say, “But I don’t want to be a ruler!” Do you want to straighten out the problems here below; problems of poverty, gross income equality, disease, corruption, violence, and abuse? Then why don’t you want to rule under Jesus Christ to solve these problems?
God is not trying to save the whole world now. Instead He is calling a few at this time to be born into His family and to rule with Him and bring peace to this troubled planet. Imagine what it will be like when:
“He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).
The Kingdom of God is none other than the spirit born family of God. It will rule on this earth for 1000 years, but that’s only the beginning. To learn more about your potential future, be sure to order your free copy of Do You Believe the True Gospel?
We also invite you to subscribe to our channel and click the notification bell. In this world of growing chaos and confusion, you need the solid guidance that comes from your Bible. Richard Ames, Wallace Smith, and I, along with guest presenter Rod McNair, will continue to share with you the teachings of Jesus Christ, the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, and the exciting end-time prophecies and their meaning. So, be sure to join us again next week!