The Story of God’s Kingdom 3

Jesus healing
Jesus Healing

It is possible to see someone do something but not really realize what they are doing, especially if we aren’t paying close attention. I’m convinced people do that with Jesus all the time. Like the Jews of his day, “… seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13). What about you? Do you see what Jesus was doing?

Jesus began his ministry by announcing that the long awaited Kingdom of God was at hand. He declared that the time had come for God to intervene in the world and rule people as their King, bringing about much better days. One of his primary purposes in his ongoing ministry was to demonstrate the truth, reality and superiority of that kingdom.

We mentioned previously that Satan tempted the humans and brought sin and death into the world. We sometimes miss that Satan, too, has a kingdom, yet Jesus stated this clearly (Matthew 12:26; cf. Colossians 1:13). The Bible calls Satan the “ruler of this world” and “the god of this age” (John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4). He is a tyrant who deceives people, gains power over them, and tries to recruit them to do his bidding (2 Timothy 2:26).

Good news! Jesus is more powerful! We know this especially from his miracles, which are signs that point to spiritual truths. We are probably familiar with the idea that they point to his true identity. The seven signs in John, for example, point to that truth that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:30-31).

We may not be aware, however, that his signs also point to the reality and superiority of God’s kingdom. Matthew and Luke record an important episode that shows this (Matthew 12:22-28; Luke 11:14-20). Jesus drove out a demon, leading the common people to wonder if he might be the Son of David, that is the Messiah. But the Pharisees accused him of driving the demon out by Satan. Jesus responded that their accusations didn’t make sense because that would mean Satan was working against himself. Satan sent the demons in, so why would he cast them out? He then explained that what was really going on is that he was casting out demons by the finger or power of God, and this showed that “the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20.” This is a clear statement that this miracle was a demonstration of the reality and power of the kingdom of God.

The account is followed immediately, in both Matthew 12 and Luke 11, by the parable of a strong man, fully armed, who is guarding his goods. NIV translates “goods” as “possessions,” a valid definition of the underlying word in Luke’s account and one that vividly describes what Jesus is teaching. Satan is a “strong man” who possesses people, and consequently they become his possessions. But Jesus is a “stronger man” who attacks and over powers the “strong man,” takes away his armor, and ties him up. Then he can plunder his spoil. In other words, exorcisms are a powerful assault by Jesus on Satan. The exorcisms show Jesus is stronger. He overpowers the strong man and set people free. This tells us that there is warfare between the two kings, and that Jesus and his kingdom are more powerful. Jesus’ powerful deeds demonstrate the reality of the kingdom of God and its supremacy over Satan.

Elsewhere we read that one of the reasons “the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Or as Peter put it, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). Jesus’ deeds demonstrated the good news of God’s kingdom and its superiority over Satan’s.

So, What Did Jesus Do (WDJD)? For one, he demonstrated who he is and also that the kingdom of God had come. Jesus’ deeds sent a powerful message for those with eyes to see it. Notice Jesus also used words here to explain his deeds. Next we’ll consider even more of what he said about the kingdom of God.

But for today, the question is, Did you see what Jesus did? Did you catch it? Do you believe Christ is more powerful than Satan? And if so, what are the implications for how you will live today?

Published by Marvin Bryant

After serving as a minister for churches for forty years, Marvin founded the Empowering Subjects to equip subjects of the King to change the world like Jesus did.

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