Jesus – More than Savior, Ambassador

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Jesus – More than Savior, Ambassador

Consider the message that Jesus starts his ministry with:

17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:17

Jesus starts out His ministry by proclaiming that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. The very presence of God that man had been forced to live without for all these thousands of years was now about to make an incredible return. I want you to notice that this was BEFORE Jesus had died – but because of His presence, He proclaims that the kingdom was now at hand. Not in some future time – but was present RIGHT THEN. God was restoring relationship with man.

So, what does that have to do with us? Let examine a bit of scripture to see if we can get the truth of the matter, if you would. Look at Matthew 10:7-8. Let’s put this in context a bit. The 12 disciples have been with Jesus for some period of time now, and Jesus has decided that it is time for them to take a part in His ministry. Therefore, He is now about to send out the disciples to act on their own for a while. These two verses are part of the instructions that He is giving them – and I want you to pay close attention to what He is saying here:

7And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Matthew 10:7-8

Look at what the disciples are commanded to preach - the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Look at what the disciples are commanded to DO – heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons.

Now, let’s stop for just a minute and let me ask you a question – was this scripture written while Jesus was in heaven? No way. Were the disciples somehow translated into heaven? Nope. And yet, they were commanded to preach “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”? Wouldn’t that be, sort of, like a lie? If you were to go offer a 2014 Lincoln MKZ with all the options for sale, and you in reality had a 1984 Ford Fairmont with 180,000 miles on it – people would say that you were lying to them. Yet, here is Jesus Christ telling the disciples to preach that “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”.

Let’s consider a portion of scripture:

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Hebrews 11:8-10

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Hebrews 11:13

Here, the author of Hebrews is speaking of the many people talked about in the Old Testament – people who were waiting and looking for the Kingdom of Heaven – and they didn’t have it. Finally, after many years, here comes Jesus Christ – and the FIRST thing he says is “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”.

Could it be that maybe, just maybe, we don’t really understand what Jesus was talking about?