When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus all that they had done. He took them along and withdrew privately to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds found out, they followed him. He welcomed them, spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing (Luke 9:10-11 CSB).
The Gospel writers wrote their books to convince people that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. The Gospels urge people everywhere to know that there is hope of eternal life in the Lord Jesus.
The past four blog posts we have examined the power and the compassion of Jesus. In chapter nine, Luke records a question that was raised by Herod, a regional ruler of that time. He asked, “Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And Luke wants you and me to answer that question according to the historical evidence about Jesus. Let us think and then act on the first line of evidence he presents in this chapter.
Jesus is someone with a great message (9:10-11). It is obvious from Luke’s Gospel that Jesus was a very popular person. People crowded to hear him from all parts of Israel, and also from beyond its borders. However, when someone becomes popular, what the person stands for can get lost in a desire for entertainment. Jesus took action to prevent that from happening.
The Messiah’s chief concern was to teach about the kingdom of God. What is meant by the phrase “the kingdom of God”? God is the Lord of all and his purpose is to demonstrate his lordship for his glory. In this present age he does this through the gospel by the Spirit, bringing people to the obedience that comes from faith (Romans 16:26). Salvation is not the result of human effort and strict obedience to the law, but a product of God’s work in human hearts. At the end of the age, the Lord will destroy all remaining opposition and everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 NIV).
Why is it important to teach about the kingdom of God? This is the way that we bring honor to God and do the most good to our fellow humans. The best thing we can do is to tell them how to be right with God now, instead of being judged by God later.
Do we share Jesus’ vision? You and I can find the answer to that question by how much we pray for God the Father’s kingdom to come. In the Model Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), Jesus taught his followers to pray to that end. Do we? Does your own prayer list and your church’s prayer list have this right up at the top? We only deceive ourselves that we share Christ’s vision when we do not pray for what he told us to pray about.
Jesus’ miraculous signs were given to support his teaching. We need to read the Bible in a “real life” setting. What would it be like for a man wearing a polo shirt, khakis and sandals to appear in our time and to claim to be the Son of God? How would we know his claim was true? That is the first reason for his miraculous signs (Matthew 11:2-6).
Along with this, his miraculous signs were a demonstration or acted revelation of his teaching. Jesus always taught that God cares for his people as a wise, kind, and sufficient Father. How could they experience this truth? They could know it by his miracles.
In our time, we no longer need miraculous signs. We have the chief sign, the resurrection of the crucified Christ, and the completed Scriptures. Whenever anyone is saved, a great miracle occurs, because they pass from death to life. We show the reality of this new life by showing its qualities to others. Are you? Is there “enough evidence to convict you” of being kind, compassionate and forgiving, and so being a follower of Jesus Christ?