introduced to the Jewish people. The appearance of Jesus in the public arena during the ministry of John was, as John said, the dawning of this Kingdom.
In this lesson the main features of the Kingdom of God as John presented it will be explored. Then the ministry Jesus will be followed as He introduced and established the Kingdom of God among the first century Jews. The Gospel of Luke dates the beginning of John’s and Jesus’ public ministry to about 27 A.D. The first part of Jesus’ public ministry (covered in this lecture) was spent mainly in his own home territory, Galilee (in the north of the Jewish territories).
The Ministry of John the Baptizer
John was the Elijah figure foretold by Malachi the prophet (Life Application Study Bible, 2005, Mark 1:2). He was the one sent by God to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. It is thus no surprise that his basic message was, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 3:1, 2). In this pronouncement, he announced the coming of the Messiah and Kingdom, and also set the stage for the spiritual reception of the Kingdom. To John, repentance meant a realignment of loyalties. The Kingdom would be real to those who deliberately turned their hearts and minds to embrace it.
Of course, John spoke directly of the coming Messiah. John indicated that the Messiah would bring a radical spiritual awakening, a baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11). He also spoke of the Messiah as bringing judgment against those who would reject and resist the Kingdom (Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:9). These actions were part of the popular, theological expectations of the Messiah among the Jews. But John presented an unexpected idea about the Messiah, that He would be the Lamb of God, the sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:35). In proclaiming the Messiah as such, John set the stage for the work of Jesus, as will be seen.
The Gospel writers transition to the account of the life of Jesus through their presentation of...