The Message of Christ. The central theme of Christ’s message is stated in Mark 1:15: “The time has
come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Following His
baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirt into the wilderness to be tested by Satan. This marked only the
beginning of the conflict between the prince of the kingdom of darkness and the One appointed as King in
the kingdom of God here on earth.
The entire life and ministry of Christ must be understood in the light of the conflict between the kingdom
of light and the dominion of darkness. Many of His miracles were performed in the demonic realm,
proving His authority over Satan. It was necessary for Christ to demonstrate that His power as King
exceeded that of Satan’s whose rule over the earthly realm began at the Fall. Christ demonstrated in the
temptation His moral right to rule and His authority over Satan.
In Galilee, Jesus was officially presenting Himself as the King of the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7:12-16)
and offering the kingdom to God’s covenant people. The only condition was their repentance in keeping
with 2 Chronicles 7:14. The prophet Zechariah had shown that apart from confession of sin and the
reception of cleansing for sin there could be no entrance into the Messiah’s kingdom (Zechariah 12-13).
The OT had made it very clear that only the righteous would be accepted into the Messiah’s kingdom.
The Messiah’s forerunner, John the Baptizer, had preached repentance and baptism unto righteousness
and now the crowds heard it from the King.
To authenticate His identity as well as His offer of the kingdom to Israel, “Jesus went throughout Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and
sickness among the people” (Matthew 4:23). As a result, great crowds of people from Galilee,
Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and Perea followed Him.
Unfortunately, the crowds knew nothing of righteousness except as it was defined by the Pharisees.
According to the teaching of the Pharisees, observing the traditions of men (as they had established them)
would make all of Abraham’s physical descendants eligible for entrance into the Messiah’s kingdom.
However, the righteousness of the Pharisees was not sufficient for entrance into the kingdom. Christ
addressed this important issue as He gathered the multitudes to Him and opened His mouth to teach them.