Matthew 10:7 – And proclaim as you go, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
In Matthew 10, Jesus is preparing his disciples to go out on a little short-term mission trip. They are going to have to preach. Jesus reminds the disciples of the message that he has been preaching all along. Both Jesus and John the Baptist in this gospel have been telling people to repent because God’s kingdom is at hand (3:2; 4:17). Now Jesus tells his disciples to go preach the very message that he has been proclaiming. They are to deliver the call of God.
What would it look like to deliver this call? The disciples were to preach the gospel, at least its beginnings. Once Jesus had finished his work, the message and call became even clearer.
What, then is the message that we proclaim that can be summarized, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand?” It is the gospel message. Do you know it? Can you easily tell it to somebody? Let’s review it.
The gospel begins with God. There is a God who created this universe and everything in it. Because he created the universe, God has the right to own everything in it. God is perfect, pure, and holy in every way. He is loving toward the people he has made. He is also just and will always rightly judge.
God created humanity, mankind, in his image. The people God made are to display for the universe around us the glory of God. But mankind has rebelled against the Lord. Every last one of us has sinned against God, battling against his standards and trying to be our own masters. Because of that rebellion, we have all earned for ourselves the judgment of God, his wrath forever. If we die under that wrath, our eternal destiny will be hell.
But God determined before creation that he was going to rescue a people for himself. At the proper time in human history, God sent into the world his very own Son. Jesus, God in flesh, the second person of the trinity, was born of a virgin in Bethlehem. Jesus lived out a perfect life, perfectly fulfilling the law of God. Jesus then died on a Roman cross, suffering the wrath of God for the sins of the people God would rescue. Jesus never sinned, and did not deserve to die. Jesus never failed, and did not deserve to be punished. But Jesus chose to serve as a substitutionary sacrifice, to take the place of those God would forgive.
After his death on the cross for the sins of others, Jesus was buried. But, on the third day from his crucifixion, Jesus rose from the grave. In his resurrection, Jesus proved that his perfect life and sacrificial death had in fact done what God had intended them to do. Jesus proved that everything he claimed about himself was true., His sacrifice was acceptable and he would be able to grant life forever to all he would rescue.
The message of good news is that now, for all who will turn away from their sin and trust in Jesus, there is forgiveness of sin and life forever in Christ. We must realize that we do not want to live in rebellion against God. We must declare to God that we are willing to submit to him and his commands, even if we know we will be imperfect. We must believe the truth about Jesus, and place our entire trust for our entire souls in his finished work. When this happens, we can know that God has done a work in our hearts, drawn us to himself, forgiven us of our sins, made us into his children, and granted us heaven forever.
What is the message? Repent, turn from your sin and trust in Jesus. Why? Because Jesus has brought God’s kingdom. God is holy. We are sinners. Jesus is our perfect Savior who died and rose from the grave. And we must believe in Jesus and turn from our sins to be saved. That is the message we declare.
Friends, learn the gospel. Believe the gospel. And go out and deliver God’s call to a lost and dying world.
And, if you have not come to faith in Jesus Christ, I urge you to repent, for God’s kingdom is here. Repent, turn from sin and trust in Jesus. This is your only hope.