And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. (Matthew 4:23 ESV)
After Jesus’ baptism, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to fast and be tempted by the devil for forty days. Though the devil offered to Him glory and fame, Jesus triumphed over temptation, relying upon the Scriptures. In overcoming temptation, Jesus begins His ministry by preaching the same words of John:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (v. 17).
Verse 23 is Matthew’s summation of Jesus’ earthly ministry: He healed diseases and afflictions while teaching and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.
To give clarification, gospel means good news. Thus, Jesus proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of heaven.
What sort of good news could this be?
As the Messiah, Jesus is the Serpent-Crusher of Genesis 3, He is the blessing to all nations from Abraham, and He is the eternal King from David. As we read in Isaiah and Daniel, this King is far more than merely human.
He is a heavenly King; He is God.
Thus, being God with humanity, Jesus proclaimed the good news that God’s kingdom was now invading earth and that all of the promises of old were coming to fulfillment.
As the God-King, Jesus proclaimed the good news of Himself. He is the gospel, the hope in Whom Abraham, Moses, and David waited. And in healing the sick, Jesus displayed physically what He came to do spiritually, which was push back the curse of sin and death.
Jesus established His kingdom to end sin’s reign over the earth.
Remember today the reason for Christ’s birth: He came ultimately to die as an atonement for our sins, and with His resurrection, He crushed the power of sin and death decisively.