Jesus came proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was here. However, many didn’t understand His message. Some thought that Jesus came to restore Israel’s prominence in the world (Acts 1:6). There were also those that thought He came to take over the temple and change their traditions (Matthew 5:17); and then there were those that just wanted the blessings – healing and deliverance. Most times, even Jesus’ disciples (inner circle) were confused by His message (Matthew 15:16). Jesus’ message of restoring the Kingdom of God is still being misunderstood until this very day.
John the Baptist was chosen as Jesus’ frontrunner. John 1:23, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” John baptized Jesus and testified, “I saw the Spirit come down from Heaven as a dove and remain on Him.” John 1:32. In verse 33, John states, “…the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’” John further stated, “I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” John 1:34.
After His baptism, “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted.” Matthew 4:1. Following His wilderness victory (Yes, we can have victory in the wilderness), Jesus heard that John had been imprisoned and the Bible declares that, “From that time on, Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near,’” Matthew 4:17, and He left the city. Apparently, that disturbed John because He began to question what He had seen, heard and testified to. And from the book of John, we see he had heard and had seen some amazing things. Nevertheless, “When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask Him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’” Matthew 11:2-3.
Like us, John probably had his own idea of what the Kingdom of God would look like and prison was not it. Restoration was not looking like what John imagined it to be. Look at Jesus’ response, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see.” Matthew 11:4. Jesus tells them to tell John about the miracles, and then He says tell John, “Blessed is he, who shall not be offended in me.” Matthew 11:6. What did Jesus mean by this statement? I believe He meant we are blessed when we accept His will for our lives whatever that may look like. We are blessed when we accept His will for our lives when it does not look like how we think it ought.
Jesus came to reconcile mankind back to His Father. He said “My Kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36. So, why is it when we hear restoration declared, we think naturally and not spiritually? “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2. God wants to restore His people – He wants to restore His power in our lives so that we can demonstrate it in this earth. “And these signs will follow those who believe…” Mark 16:17. He wants us to trust Him not only to restore but also trust His process of restoration and not faint when our faith is tested, but “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised).” Hebrews 10:23.