“As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” — Matthew 10:7–8 (NIV84)
How amazingly consistent the message of the kingdom of heaven is! Jesus was sending out His disciples for their first time to preach and minister to the needs of people, and their message was exactly the same as Jesus’ and John the Baptist’s. Jesus told them, “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’” The Christian message is not a complicated or deeply philosophical message. It is a message that should ring true to everyone on the planet. We all know we live in a wicked and broken world. Jesus told his disciples then (and tells us now) to go into that world and let them know that the kingdom of heaven is here. The Christian message offers to all of us an answer to the problems we face in this world. First and foremost, it offers another kingdom. It offers something beyond this world in which we live. Second, it offers hope even in the world in which we live. The disciples were told to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” The message of the kingdom of heaven brings repair to some of the brokenness of this world. It brings complete redemption to the sinfulness of this world. Jesus bore our sins on the cross so that we might have eternal life.
Because of the greatness of this message, our message should be no different from the message of the disciples, John the Baptist, and Jesus Himself. We live in a world just as broken and sin-filled as the one they lived in. There are people who need to hear the message of the kingdom of heaven. They need to know that the kingdom is near. They need to know that there is a God of grace who longs to be reunited with them at the cross of Jesus Christ. We need to boldly believe, defend, and proclaim this message. The message doesn’t need to be repackaged or modified. It just needs to be faithfully delivered. We have freely received! We need to freely give!