From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17
Scripture reading: Matthew 4:12-17
The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) all at various times summarize Jesus’ message as being about the Kingdom of God. In Matthew 4, for example, we are given a summary statement of what Jesus preached: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” One of the most interesting things about this summary is that Matthew never bothers to explain what he means by the word “kingdom.”
The kingdom is absolutely essential to the message of Jesus and yet Matthew never defines it. Why would that be? The reason is that Matthew assumes his readers know what he is talking about, that they were already waiting for and expecting the Kingdom of God on the basis of the Old Testament Scriptures.
If we want to understand what Jesus is about, then, we must go back to those promises of the Kingdom, promises that we have been tracing throughout this study, promises that were ultimately not just for Israel, but for all nations. God had promised that when the promised kingdom arrived, the nations would stream to Jerusalem and that His kingdom would expand to include the whole world.
That is the kingdom Jesus brought, the mission that Jesus came to fulfill: a kingdom that would be for all people, for all the nations of the world. It was through this kingdom that the family of Abraham would be a blessing to all the families of the earth.
Suggestions for prayer
We love and exalt Jesus for bringing the promised kingdom and we thank God that we have been included in it by His grace.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Nick Smith is pastor of the United Reformed Church of Nampa, Idaho.