Teachings of Jesus 1: God Is Near (And this is good news!)

Get the book or e-book to go along with the study. We will be covering 18 teachings this summer by video.  The book, however, has nearly all Jesus's teachings in Mark and into Matthew, and it is on sale at the time of this posting.  Get the book or e-book at Amazon by clicking HERE.

For a list of all free video teachings and transcripts in this series, go HERE.

HERE is the full video for Teaching 1.  A written transcript is just below the video if you prefer to read what is taught. Enjoy...and I would love to hear any feedback/discussion you have by commenting here, on facebook, or by sending me a message on facebook.

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Welcome Back to Summer with the teachings of Jesus.

Today we are going to go over teaching number one.

I want to let you know I am here in the bedroom because it has the best light. For those of you who know me, you know I have four pets. I have two dogs and two cats, and they are all here. You can't see them in the video, but it's really cute. Hopefully they will behave; they are being very good right now.

Today we are going to go over the very first thing that Jesus taught.

Just a reminder, if you missed the introduction – we are going to be going over 18 videos, going through the teachings of Jesus. Nine weeks over the summer. So that will be 18 teachings in the videos. However, They all come from this book, my book, He Called 56 Daily Studies and Reflections with the Words of Christ, and this book has 56 teachings. So if you want to go over even more of the teachings, the parables, and the miracles, then this is available. It can be found – there is a link somewhere -- the most recent edition is only found on Amazon. There is an e-book and a paperback, and you may get that if you would like an additional resource.

So let's go ahead and start and get right into the teaching. What is the very first thing that Jesus taught? Do you remember? It's in the book of Mark. In the first chapter of Mark. Let's remember that Jesus began – first he was baptized by John. Then he went into the area of Galilee and he gave his first teaching. And he said,

“The time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.”

That is what he was proclaiming, after he had been baptized. And also there was the temptation that came before this – the temptation of Christ in the desert. And then he proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” A very short teaching. Two or three sentences depending on how you punctuate it. Ok, but what was he actually saying?

I have read this for many, many years. I always thought that Jesus was saying, “The kingdom is coming;" when he says the kingdom is at hand – that it is close and it is almost here. There are some translations that say, “the kingdom of God has drawn near;” and I think that is the best translation, and I am going to explain why in just a minute.

There is something that I learned that really reveals the layers of the message that Jesus was giving. Some of you know that I have been studying the Biblical Greek over the past year. Now I love languages – I love complicated languages – and so it was fun for me to study the greek. And I promise you that I am not going to be a “greek geek” in all these videos; but this is a particular passage where an understanding of the greek verbs and the ways they are used is important. One thing about the greek verbs is they have many more tenses than we have in English, and not only do they have more tenses, they have additional layers of meaning embedded within the verb that we don't have. The verb tells how it happened, and specifically when it happened, and what kind of effects this action is having. Our English verbs – I'm sorry by our English verbs are not this rich. The greek verbs are rich!

So remember, many people think – as I thought – that Jesus was saying the kingdom of God is about to come, it has drawn near; it is about to come so believe this – that he was talking about the coming of the complete fulfillment of the Kingdom in this passage. But, that is not what he was speaking of, and I am going to explain why. Now stay with me here – because you are going to get it too! Now, it is true – yes – the Kingdom is coming and one day we will be living in the fullness of the Kingdom, but let me get back to my point on the greek verbs –

The greek verbs have a tense, called the perfect tense. It is one of the least used tenses in the Bible, that the gospel writers used. The perfect tense is a very special tense because it describes an action that has been working out, that has then been completed – they use the word “puncticular” – it's been completed, but also has continuing effects up until the present time of the speaker. When the gospel writers wrote this passage in Mark, they used the perfect tense for the verbs fulfilled and drawn near. So when Jesus said, “The time has been fulfilled, the Kingdom of heaven has drawn near,” it was this special perfect tense which was used. This means “the time has been fulfilled – it's been working out – it's been fulfilled and there are continuing effects.” And he said, “the Kingdom of God has been drawing near – it has drawn near – and there are continuing effects.” That is what Jesus was proclaiming, according to the way the gospel writer recorded it with this perfect tense.
Now, I'm going to digress here because I have to share something else with you. Do you know one other time this perfect tense was used? This might give you chills. This gave me chills. This perfect tense is used when Jesus is on the cross. And he said, “It is finished.” The word for finished was also in this perfect tense. So Jesus was saying, “the plan of God has been working out...it is finished on the cross, and will have continuing effects.”
Repent and believe the gospel. When he says repent here, the word come from metanoia, and it means simply to change your mind – to change your thinking, and believe this good news. So one more time, Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled (and is going to have continuing effects); the Kingdom of God has drawn near (and is going to have continuing effects). Change your mind and believe this good news of God!” He is giving a message from God directly to the people.

So this is the very first thing Jesus wanted us to know – that the Kingdom of God has drawn near, that it is near. And just in case you do not think that this really is that important of a teaching. Let's think about this: this is the first thing we have recorded; let's think about the last thing that Jesus said to his disciples before he left – before the ascension. What did he say? He said, “Behold, I am with you always, even until the end of the age.” The actual translation there, word for word, is I am with you "all of the days" – always – even until the end of the age. So Jesus began his teachings with “The Kingdom of God is near.” That theme is the foundation of everything else he taught during his three years of ministry on earth. Then at the end of his teaching, he gave the same message - “I will be near; I will be with you always, until the end of the age.”

So I want to close out with a challenge. Not just a challenge, but an instruction. I want you to ask yourself, honestly, “How often during my week, and during my day, do I actually take time to pause and consider, and really let it sink in, that God is Near?

Now here is the truth. Here is what I used to be like for many years, until I took on this study. In the mornings I would wake up, and I would try to have a little prayer and take in some sort of devotional reading – if the morning was not too rushed. I would have some time with God and thinking about God being with me throughout the day. Then I would go throughout my day, as normal. Then at the end of the day, as I'm going to bed was when I would read and pray. So before I took on this study, I was very much "checking in" with God at the beginning of the day – sometimes, because sometimes I would oversleep (and not have this time with God in the morning). And then I was "checking out" with God at the end of the day. But what I want you to do is to do something practical to help you remember throughout the day, multiple times throughout the day – just to remember that God is near.

Now you can do what you think will work best for you. If you are in a room for much of the day or if you are at home; you can put up signs all over your house – just paper signs write them in crayons or markers or whatever. Signs saying “God is Near.” And put them up all over your house. Put them on your alarm clock; stick one in your car, in your bathroom, in the kitchen. Now that is just one idea; you don't have to do that. But I will say if you do do that, just make basic, white paper, handwritten signs so you will see them. Because I know some of my craftier people are going to say, “Oh I'm going to make some beautiful signs,” and that's great. But you know what happens with beautiful signs? You put them up, and then they blend in with your decor, and you don't even really see them because they are just blending in. Now these are only going to be up for a week or two, so that is one idea that you can do.

If that is not going to work, maybe because you spend all day in an office or something and you can't really – and people will think you are really weird if you do this. Which they shouldn't – but they might. Then another idea I have is to set your cell phone to buzz silently every 20 minutes. And when it goes off – wherever you are – whether you are in a meeting or in a store – you just silence it and you think to yourself, “God is near. Thank you God for being near.” And if you do that every 20 minutes – now turn it off at night so it's not buzzing through the night. Every 20 minutes throughout the day. If you do that for two weeks, I can promise you by the end of two weeks you will have retrained your brain to remember that “God is Near” all throughout the days.
I can tell you that the people who are really walking with God. And the people who are experiencing Him and seeing his works...the people who are having spiritual breakthroughs – they are the ones who have mastered this thinking – mastered remembering that God is there. Because we have to remember that He is there in the first place, to be able to go with Him, and to experience Him.

So that is not just a challenge, that is an instruction. Do something today. Do something today that you will keep doing for the next two weeks to help you remember that God is near (all throughout the day).
Ok, I will be posting the next video in two days, early Thursday morning. And the next teaching is on one of the early teachings of Christ, one of the early things that happened. And I will see you then! Bye for now!

Get the book or e-book to go along with the study. We will be covering 18 teachings this summer by video. The book, however, has nearly all Jesus's teachings in Mark and into Matthew, and it is on sale at the time of this posting.  Get the book or e-book at Amazon by clicking HERE.

For a list of all free video teachings and transcripts in this series, go HERE.