Most of my Christian life, I've been taught that the gospel, the good news from God to us, is that our sins are forgiven on the basis of what God did through Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. I was taught that it's a free gift and that we can know it and possess it experientially simply by faith. And that's all true - and it certainly is good news to the likes of me, a sinner. However, this scripture passage reveals that that is only a narrow slice of a much bigger pie! And the question that every Christian must face up to is this: Is the gospel that I possess and profess the same gospel that Jesus possessed and professed? So, let's have a look.
What was the specific message of Christ's gospel? The Kingdom of God. When we hear the word "kingdom", we usually picture something like Camelot with castles sitting atop green hills with spires rising high into the sky and banners unfurled, waving in the wind. But the word here for kingdom means the rule and realm of a king that is being advanced and enforced. The idea behind is less about a physical realm and more about the King being the king, enforcing His authority and kingship over every circumstance within His kingdom, His realm. This is the specific message of Jesus: God is King over all and is now enforcing His kingship against all false kings and rulers, natural and supernatural.
What did the gospel "lived out" look like in the life of Jesus? Healing. Now, in Scripture, healing applies to physical, emotional, and mental sickness. But it also covers deliverance from habits, hurts and hang-ups; wounds from the past and even demonic oppression and harassment. John Wimber used to say that Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God AND demonstrated the kingdom of God. It's my belief that we are called to the very same. Our lives as followers of Christ should display God's healing in our own lives AND cause us to be instruments of God's healing in the lives of others.
In closing, one of my spiritual fathers, Major W. Ian Thomas used to say, "The Christian life is simply this: the life He lived then lived by Him now in and through us." Therefore, the gospel He proclaimed and demonstrated then will be the same gospel proclaimed and demonstrated now by Him in and through us. And wherever the King is, there also is the kingdom, so that we can boldly say, in any and every circumstance and situation, "The Kingdom of God is here! Now!"