“But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the King of God has come upon you.”
What was the Good News that Jesus proclaimed during his lifetime? Simply this: The Kingdom of God. In Jesus, the Kingdom of God has begun among us. In Luke chapter 4, Jesus announces that he is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Lk 4:18-19). Jesus performs these miracles to signal that the Kingdom of God has broken into this world.
Jesus had just healed a man who was mute but who now could speak. Yet some accused Jesus of casting out demons “by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons” (Lk 15).
Jesus responded that it is by God’s power that he drives out demons to reveal that “the Kingdom of God has come upon you” (Lk 4:20). Even so, they cannot, or will, not see this new thing that God is doing among people. Their willful blindness prevents them from perceiving the transforming powers of God in Jesus.
Jesus was sent to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God, the news that God is vanquishing evil and establishing his active rule over his creation. The Kingdom of Satan is being replaced by the Kingdom of God. The full establishment of God’s reign lies in the future, but it is already being inaugurated through Jesus.
Jesus is Messiah of word and action. With his ascension, he now sends us, his disciples, to announce the Good News of the Kingdom through healing, forgiveness, compassion, and in love for one another. God is doing a new thing in us. Can we see it? Can we perceive it?
Deacon Manuel Valencia is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.