Since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached
Luke 16:1-17 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. 2 And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’3 The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’ 5 And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. 9 And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.
10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.
16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.
Look at what Jesus says at the end of today’s text: “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.” The gospel of the kingdom of God is what Jesus preached, and it is the gospel that we should preach today. Rather than the gospel of the kingdom, some still preach the law, while others preach a message not about the kingdom we live in, but rather about the age we live in; the age of grace. Neither those who focus only on the law or those who preach only grace preach the fullness of the kingdom. The age of grace will come to an end. Jesus will return as righteous judge of a kingdom that never ends. Those who still proclaim the law, miss the fact that the law by itself was unable to save. We cannot force our way into the kingdom, either by the law or by grace. Jesus says: “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.” In Matthew 5:17-20 He says: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” We see then that even now, with Jesus, in this age of grace, righteousness is still required. Ephesians 2:8-10 says: By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. So it is not our righteousness that saves us, but rather, in response to God’s grace, we do the good works of God; we walk in His righteousness. In John 14:15 Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” The gospel of the kingdom is that we obey God’s commandments in response to His grace. We preach not only with our words, but also with our obedience.
Jesus says: “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached.” In Matthew 3:2, John preached saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In Matthew 4:17, at the beginning of His ministry, Jesus also preached saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The kingdom was at hand. It was not far off. But the one who initiated the age and the covenant of grace through His sacrifice on the cross had not yet completed His greatest act of love and grace. In Luke 17:20-21 it says: And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Now, Jesus having both died for our sins and being resurrected in power, the kingdom is no longer nearby, rather it is here and it is within us. The gospel, the good news of the kingdom is that not only do we live here and now in the kingdom, but the kingdom is in us. When we preach the gospel of the kingdom, it is evidenced that by grace we walk in the good works of God and because we love Him, we keep His commandments. Jesus taught us to pray saying: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ God’s kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. For His kingdom to come, His will must be done, for the kingdom of God to be on earth, we must be obedient to His will.
Psalm 89:14 says: Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. Righteousness and justice are what the everlasting kingdom of God is built and established on. The love and grace of the cross is the truth by which we gain access to the Kingdom. In Matthew 16, Jesus said that through the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, we would be given the keys to the kingdom of heaven. We cannot force our way into the kingdom. It is only by grace and by grace we have been given the key. In today’s text Jesus says: “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” Hebrews 14:6 says: Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. By God’s mercy and grace, we find help even to walk in His truth and righteousness. As we are faithful to take each step, He will be faithful to give us all of the kingdom.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit as I draw near to You may I receive the mercy and grace to walk in the power of and obedience to Your truth; in Your righteousness. May I preach the good news of the kingdom and may the goodness of the kingdom be in me. Amen.