The Message of Jesus

Read: Matthew 4:12-17

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (v. 17)

This might surprise you, but Jesus wasn’t a Christian. A Christian is one who has been saved by grace through faith in Christ. Jesus wasn’t justified by faith; he was justified by his own righteous works. Christians have been reconciled to God by Christ’s atoning death. Jesus wasn’t reconciled to God at all, because his relationship with the Father was never broken—apart from those three terrible hours on the cross.

Here’s a second surprise. Jesus didn’t preach the gospel—at least in the sense the New Testament defines it. The gospel is the story of salvation—“the mighty works of God,” as those who first heard it preached exclaimed (Acts 2:11). The gospel, in the apostle Paul’s elevator speech version, is “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). What Jesus preached was the “gospel”—the “good news”—of God’s kingdom come: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

His message was this: God’s kingdom has arrived, so reorient your life toward it. When the president boards Air Force One, it becomes the center of government for the United States. When he’s not on board, it’s just an airplane. His presence is what makes the difference. It’s the same with the kingdom. The kingdom of God has come because Jesus, the King, has come. So, reorient your life toward him. —David Bast

As you pray, remember to seek the kingdom (Matt. 6:33) and pray for the kingdom (Matt. 6:10).

About the Author

david bast

Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.