THE LORD JESUS
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
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
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
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