Christianity is made up of different types of churches. These include but are not limited to the catholic and protestant churches and other non-denominational churches. All these religious bodies have one thing in common; Jesus. Jesus is referred to as Christ, hence the term Christianity. Today, Christians are governed by the teachings of Jesus Christ. These teachings form the foundation of modern Christianity. That being said, it would seem that many have veered away from the core teachings of Jesus. In light of this, many Christians can’t help but wonder, what was Jesus’ message?
Jesus’ main message was aligned with the coming of the Kingdom of God. More than 2,000 years ago, Jesus made it clear that God sent him to earth for one major purpose: to preach the good news about the Kingdom of God. This is written in Luke 4:43 where Christ says, ‘I must preach the Good News about the Kingdom of God in other towns also because that is what God sent me to do’. What’s more, the gospel of Matthew 6:33 states that people should start by seeking the kingdom of God, and everything else will fall into place in their lives.
So, what was the core of Jesus’ preaching? How far has Christianity strayed from His original message? What is the kingdom of God, and where is it? Keep reading to find out the primary message of Jesus’ ministry.
What was the Core of Jesus’ preaching?
In many parts of scripture, Jesus speaks about the Kingdom of God. In the sermon on the mount, Christ is adamant about what should be the main focus for Christians. According to Jesus, pursuing the Kingdom of God opens the door to many blessings and fulfillment in all other aspects of life.
The book of Colossians 2:14-15 teaches Christians that Jesus Christ had to die and be resurrected for humankind to have a shot at the Kingdom of God. Without His sacrifice, it would be impossible for the sinful human race to join in the Kingdom of God. In the book of Luke chapter 8, the Bible says that Jesus came to establish the kingdom of God here on earth. In Luke 17:20-23, the Pharisees ask Jesus when the Kingdom of God will come. Jesus replies by saying the Kingdom of God cannot be seen; it is within anyone who believes in the gospel.
The four gospels consistently highlight Christ’s chief agenda as He traveled to different locations preaching. Mark 1:14 says, ‘now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God.’ The same theme is evident in several other scriptures, including Matthew 9:35. Here, the Bible says, “then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
What is the Kingdom of God?
The term ‘the Kingdom of God is widely used in the Old and New Testaments. Still, not many people are sure about the meaning of this weighty phrase. In Romans 14:17, the Bible says, ‘For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the holy spirit.’ The gospels teach that Jesus came to earth to establish the kingdom of God. His ministry was meant to lay a solid foundation for the coming of the kingdom of God. This can be seen in Mark 1:14-15, where Jesus urged people to abandon their sinful ways since the kingdom of God was nearby. It is worth noting that different scriptures talk about the Kingdom of God in varied ways. In some parts of the Bible, it is called the ‘kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 4:17, Jesus urges Christians, saying, ‘turn away from your sins because the kingdom of heaven is near!’
Despite the diverse terminologies, there are three consistent characteristics of the kingdom of God.
- Jesus Christ is the ruler in heaven and on earth.
- Christ’s rule is peaceful and full of blessings.
- The human race (the church, to be specific) makes up the subjects in the Kingdom of God.
How did Jesus proclaim the Kingdom of God?
Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God through his life, his ministry, and the many parables He told. As mentioned earlier, Jesus continually admits that His father sent him to proclaim the kingdom of God. His job was to kickstart the Kingdom of God as written in the book of Mark 1:15. Jesus continues to espouse the meaning of the kingdom of God throughout his ministry. The book of Luke 11:20 says, ‘No, it is rather by means of God’s power that I drive out demons, and this proves that the Kingdom of God has already come to you.’
Where is the Kingdom of God?
There is a certain mystery around the idea of the Kingdom of God. It is said to be here, within the hearts of believers. This is written in Luke 17:21, which states, ‘No one will say look, here it is, or there it is! Because the Kingdom of God is within you. The Lord’s prayer also shows that the Kingdom of God has not fully manifested, as seen in Matthew 6:10. When Jesus came into the world, one of his main roles was to inaugurate the kingdom of God on earth. That is why the gospels and the rest of the New Testament view the coming of the kingdom of God as good news.
After his death, Jesus ascended into heaven, where he took His rightful place at the right hand of God. This suggests that Christ is already the King over God’s kingdom in heaven. Moreover, Jesus is yet to come a second time to create a new heaven and earth. Ultimately, the kingdom of God is omnipresent. God rules the entire universe through Jesus. Additionally, the kingdom of God is found in the hearts of Christians.
How far has Christianity strayed from the original message of Jesus?
Since the time Jesus ascended into heaven, His ministry has grown in leaps and bounds. The earliest church was keen on preaching Jesus’ original message. Christ gave his remaining eleven disciples the power to preach the gospel, heal the sick and drive out demons in His name. According to the epistles, it is apparent that the early church went to great lengths to maintain the integrity of Jesus’ initial message. This is shown in Acts 8:12, which says, ‘but when they believed Phillip’s message about the good news of the kingdom of God and about Jesus, they were baptized, both men and women .’The same teachings are written in the book of 2 Thessalonians 1:5. In this piece of scripture, the apostle Paul writes, ‘All of this proves that God’s judgment is just and as a result, you will become worthy of His kingdom, for which you are suffering.’
Towards the end of the New Testament era, the church began to pull away from the good news about the kingdom of God. One of the main factors behind this shift was the conversion of Constantine to Christianity. Constantine was an emperor of the roman empire who adopted a then-popular brand of Christianity. This new church essentially put off the idea of the coming of the kingdom of God. A famous theologian, Augustine Hippo, proposed in his book that the church itself was the kingdom of Christ manifested on earth. With the backing of influential figures such as Eusebius, this distorted version of Jesus’ message has been adopted by mainstream Christianity. Hippo’s theory was named amillennialism and was accepted as the truth by many churches. Due to the assimilation of amillennialism in the modern church, the message has shifted from being about the kingdom of God to being about Jesus Christ.
Is the church preaching Jesus’ core message today?
It is written in Galatians 1:9 that anyone preaching a different version of the gospel would be condemned to hell. The Bible is clear about the implications of tampering with Jesus’ original message. Today, the majority of Christian churches have lost their way. Other messages in the New Testament have been exalted over the core teaching of Jesus regarding the coming of the Kingdom of God. However, some religious bodies still emphasize the importance of the original message of Jesus’ ministry.
- What is the kingdom of God?
- What Was Jesus’ Message?
- 10 connections between Jesus and the kingdom of God
- How can you proclaim the Kingdom of God
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.