The Preaching of Jesus
Translated by Allan Liang
Praise be to the Lord God who before all creation, predestined us to be his children (Ephesians 1:4). In accordance with the time established by God the Father, the Word became God incarnate, dwelt upon men, and completed the redemptive work of the triune God, equal in glory and splendor. Prior to beginning his 3 and a half years of ministry, Jesus received the baptism of John the Baptist, in order that much good may be accomplished. (Matthew 3:1-15) Though he was the Son of God, and was fully God, as the son of Man, Jesus needed to experience numerous hardships and trials, as well as temptations among the wildness, such that after being made perfect, he would become the source of salvation for all who obey him. (Hebrews,8-10). From the calling of the 12 disciples, the church was beginning to be built on this earth. Generations upon generations of saints, in receiving the redemption from Christ, shed blood and died as martyrs, laying down the foundations for the spread of the gospel and the enlargement of God’s kingdom.
As the apostle Paul said: “[Christ Jesus] gave himself as a ransom for all men - the testimony given in the proper time. And for this purpose I was a herald and an apostle - I am telling the truth, I am not lying - and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.” (1 Timothy 2:6-7) The way of discipleship demands that one take up his cross, suffer and receive glory with God, preach the gospel, and testify of the name that leads to eternal life. (Mathew 10:37-38, 7:13). We see such discipleship manifested in the life of John the Baptist, daring to condemn the sins of princes, speak out for the truth, and enter prison, ultimately facing death. (Mathew 14:3-5) Today, we see similar examples of faithful discipleship in Pastor Wang Yi who, for his bold criticism of sin and exaltation of Christ, faces 9 years of imprisonment from a government in opposition to God (2019 12 09) blessed are those persecuted for righteousness. “ ‘The time has come,’ Jesus said. ‘The kingdom of heaven is near. Repent and believe the good news.’ ”(Mark 1:15).
Repentance is the repeated turning of one’s mind, affection and soul to God, the practice of doing all things for the glory of God, the discipline of self-denial, and the way of life and sanctification. We may have believed in God, but do we continue to repent and repent fervently? May God help us and may his Word and Spirit enlighten us. In the present times of global quarantining in an effort to contain the virus, let us often meditate upon God’s words, using the quietness brought by the virus to strengthen our family devotions. “And at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our savior.” (Titus 1:3) Let us diligently labor for our God, praying that we, along with the church, may be built up, and that this land may be healed. Let us pray earnestly for our friends and family members who have not yet accepted our lord Jesus. May God help us treasure this time and learn to trust in his word, through which we receive true peace and security. Let us pray for all those affected by the virus; may God comfort and have mercy on them. The virus has already appeared for 2 months, let us not waste this opportunity to become historical witnesses of Christ, who is to be glorified. We do not know about tomorrow, but we know He holds tomorrow. We believe that the pandemic will come to a halt through the sovereign act of God, in response to the steadfast prayers of his children. As in 2 Samuel 24:25: “David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.” Please meditate upon Mark 1:14 -15 and offer up in prayer: Since the start of the virus, has there been an increase in my love for God, my love for others and my desire to spread the gospel? Have my prayers for others and our country become more frequent and earnest? Is my concern for the virus fueled by a desire to pray for repentance, forgiveness and salvation? How can I better learn and imitate the willingness of John the Baptist to suffer imprisonment and death for the sake of our Lord?