And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. - Matthew 10:7-8 NASB
There are more instructions that follow. But on this day, the message they were to carry is simple.
The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Simple message—powerful demonstration.
- Heal the sick.
- Raise the dead.
- Cleanse the lepers.
- Cast out demons.
The first two times we hear this message—The kingdom of heaven is at hand—we get the message of repentance. This time, repentance is not mentioned, but mighty works accompany these words.
Remember when Jesus told us of His mission?
THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD. - Luke 4:18-19 NASB
Let’s break it down.
- Preach the gospel to the poor.
- Proclaim release to the captives.
- Proclaim recovery of sight to the blind.
- Set free all who are oppressed.
- Proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.
This kingdom of heaven comes with a proclamation of freedom—the end of captivity.
When John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus to verify that Jesus was ‘the one,’ what proof did Jesus send back?
Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. "And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me." - Matthew 11:4-6 NASB
What evidence did Jesus offer that the kingdom of heaven was at hand?
- The blind see.
- The lame walk.
- Lepers are cleansed.
- The deaf hear.
- The dead are raised.
- The poor have the gospel preached to them.
The kingdom of darkness is a kingdom of captivity. Many cling to their dark chains because they are forged in fear and selfishness and the locks are made of guilt and shame.
I can’t leave satan’s realm there’s too much to lose—too much to give up.
Sometimes we preach a gospel of religion and ask people to trade one captivity for another. Give up your life of guilt and shame, and take on a new life of self-righteousness. Oh, and by the way, the guilt and shame—bring that along too.
We see Jesus preaching freedom to the captives. Freedom from all their captors, whether they are bound in spiritual darkness, or physical blindness. Jesus comes breaking every chain and sends His followers to do the same.
Is it the same today? Does Jesus still break every chain? Or has the gospel changed? Has it lost some of its power? Does Jesus still send us out the way He sent the disciples, to preach, heal, and deliver?
Lord, today I hear your call to walk with your message of freedom. Allow me to walk into villages of captivity today, and give me the boldness to preach your beautiful gospel. I ask you to confirm the word with signs as you did for your disciples. Do here and now what You did there and then.
As you go—proclaim freedom!