Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God, the renewal of the world, would happen progressively over time


The question of “What is the Gospel” isn’t a hard one to answer. Jesus explicitly states it many times throughout the Gospel accounts of the New Testament.

In Mark 1:14-15, the Gospel writer writes: Jesus came into Galilee announcing God’s good news (or “the Gospel”) saying: “Now is the time! Here comes God’s Kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!

That’s it.

That is the Gospel according to Jesus.

Nothing more and nothing less.

And if you disagree, you can take that up with Jesus.

So, how is that good news?

Jesus came proclaiming that the Kingdom of God had come to earth. Put more clearly, Jesus is saying that God’s redemptive rule and reign has begun and that God was beginning a sanctifying work to bring shalom to the world.

In other words, Jesus was saying that he came to reveal a way that humans could live abundant lives, here and now, and participate with God in the redemption of the world.

The command to “change our hearts and lives” is a command to repent, which literally means to turn around, to stop walking blindly in the “way of the world” that “leads us to destruction” as Jesus said, and instead to walk along the “narrow road that leads to life”, the road of self-sacrificial love that Jesus modeled with his whole life.

In other words, the Gospel of Jesus’ announcement that God’s Kingdom is here and that we can participate in it.

But clearly, there has to be more. Because here we are two thousand years later and the Kingdom of God is still not fully realized on earth as in heaven. Every day Christians around the world are still praying the words of the Lord’s Prayer, asking God to make his “Kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

This is because Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God, the renewal of the world, would happen progressively over time.

Jesus said, in Matthew 13:31-33: The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it is grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.

He continued, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.

The Kingdom is like a seed that grows over time. It grows like a tree until one day it’s so large that birds can make nests in its branches.

Or the Kingdom is like leaven in dough. As it bakes, the dough expands, grows, and becomes a loaf of bread.

The idea in both of these parables is that the Kingdom will grow progressively. It will take time. It won’t simply appear from the sky one day. It’s an ever expanding reality that one day will reach full realization. 

From “Gay & Christian, No Contradiction; A Brief Guide for Reconciling Christian Faith & LGBT+ Identity” – by Brandan Robertson

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