Imagine with me, for a moment, that we’re going back in time to the day when Jesus began his public ministry. After 30 plus years of life (mostly undocumented), hidden from the spotlight, it was time for Jesus to step out. After his baptism and his 40 days in the wilderness of temptation, Jesus stepped into the public light and began to announce his mission to those who would listen.
Matthew documents some of Jesus’ first words in chapter 4 of his gospel. He writes, “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near’” (Matt. 4:17). These first words serve as a summary statement for the totality of Jesus’ life and ministry. He came bringing “good news.” But even more than that, Jesus himself was the good news that he was proclaiming.
The song “There Is a Savior” helps us focus on the heart of the Gospel message itself — the good news that there’s a savior who has come to rescue us and bring us into his eternal kingdom.
The paradox of Jesus’ saving power is that he did the exact opposite of what we would expect a king to do to save his people. Jesus’ road to exaltation went through humiliation. His path toward resurrection led him to the cross. And his way of conquering evil was through self-giving love. But because Jesus was willing to humble himself and to give his life as a sacrifice, he has now been raised by God to reign as the eternal King of all Kings. He is now the reigning King who is actively working to renew everything in our world.
This is why Jesus stepped onto the scene in Matthew chapter 4 and said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Jesus was issuing an invitation to turn away from our ways of life that lead to darkness and to draw near and follow him — to step into his eternal kingdom. This same invitation is still open for us now. Jesus is still inviting people to turn to him, to take up their cross and follow. And this remains good news for us.
As we accept Jesus’ invitation, we become part of his kingdom community, and as a part of his family, we take on the responsibility of sharing the good news with other people. Our mantra becomes, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again”. We have the great privilege of bearing witness to an invisible but real kingdom. We join Jesus in extending the invitation of the good news to the hurting, the broken, the lonely people in our world. We invite them not to follow us, but to follow him — the reigning King who has the power to awaken their hearts to life. This is the good news, this is our king. His name is Jesus.