The fact that Jesus chose to explain the Kingdom of God in parables and stories demonstrates its inherent mystery. The Kingdom of God is hard to describe, hard to pin down, hard to quantify. The content of these stories—a mustard seed that starts out tiny and grows to be a huge tree, a seed that springs up and grows while we are not looking, yeast that infiltrates a whole huge batch of dough and causes it to rise—also tells us some of the qualities of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is hidden, surprising, growing, multiplying. It’s present even when we do not see it, but yet we see its results.
What comes to mind when we hear the phrase “the good news”? Generally we think the gospel, yes. But what gospel? A set of beliefs including the virgin birth, incarnation, death, atonement, resurrection, repentance and salvation? Yes. What else?
As I looked to the gospels—in the study of the incarnation of Jesus that I’ve been describing throughout my blog this week—I paid particular attention to the inauguration of Jesus’ earthly ministry. How did Jesus frame his own “good news”?
John the Baptist first announced the coming of the Kingdom of God quoting Isaiah the prophet: