THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

His Life on Earth

 

"It is of prime importance in considering the earthly ministry of Jesus to understand that it was not aimed at the Gentile (non-Jewish) world, but at the covenant nation of Israel as their Messiah.  His ministry took place during the dispensation of law (Galatians 4:4).  Its purpose was to call the lost sheep of the house of Israel back into a right relationship to God through a water baptism symbolizing repentance for the remission of their sins.

"Matthew 4:23 and 10:5-8 give the content of the Lord Jesus' earthly ministry:

Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.  Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message:   'The kingdom of heaven is near.'  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give."

John the Baptist has introduced the Lord Jesus' ministry with the message...

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.  Matthew 3:2

And Luke tells us that John...

went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

One of the great errors of preaching in the church has been to give to Gentile sinners the message that John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus preached to covenant Israel, thus holding out hope that they would be saved by confessing their sins and submitting to water baptism.

It should be noted that there is not one word in the Gospel that was preached by John and the Lord Jesus of faith in a crucified and risen Savior.  Instead, we are told that when the Lord Jesus did mention his impending death,

The disciples did not understand any of this.  Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.  Luke 18:34

Not only was the earthly ministry a message of repentance, it was an announcement that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.  The kingdom of heaven is not a kingdom in heaven, but a kingdom originating from the heavens and ruling over the earth.  Accompanying this message of the kingdom of the heavens was a ministry of physical healing and restoring of physical life, which was in keeping with God's promise for that coming time of millennial blessing.

Peter, in offering this kingdom to Israel after the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, spoke of it as the time...

...for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.  Acts 3:21

Those Old Testament prophets knew nothing of the Church.  The writer of Hebrews speaks of these miracles of healing as tasting of the powers of the coming age (Hebrews 6:4) (i.e. the Millennial age)."

Nevertheless, it is the Christian's privilege to behold Him, via the written Word, in His earthly walk and work.  As we read and contemplate Him, we see his firm yet loving attitudes.  We witness His restfulness during times of crisis; his compassion and humility.

And we, who with unveiled faces all contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 3:18

MJS

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