Tim Keller | October 31, 1999
When Jesus returned to his home region of Galilee and taught in their synagogues, especially in Nazareth, it was a fulfilment of scripture and a call for spiritual renewal. His teachings stressed the importance of inner change, a transformed heart, and the sharing of good news with those in need. Jesus’ teachings, the gospel, were meant for those who are spiritually and physically needy, but only those open to accepting these conditions can truly receive it.
1. The gospel is for those who are spiritually needy
Jesus’ lessons show that he reached out to those who were spiritually poor, like the widow of Zarephath and Naaman. He wasn’t attracted by physical poverty, but spiritual struggles and those who didn’t fit into religious norms. It’s important to let go of spiritual laziness, self-righteousness, and the illusion that we can control God, and instead recognize our flaws and need for God’s help.
2. The gospel is especially for those who are physically needy
The gospel message is often deeply felt by those on the edges of society, like women, racial outsiders, and the powerless. They usually understand their need for God’s grace. The message of God’s help is best understood when we admit our spiritual need, a lesson taught by Jesus’ own surrender of power. History tells us that those who resist admitting their need for God’s help often find it hard to understand the gospel, while ethnic minorities, women, and the poor have been more open to it.
3. The gospel is received by those willing to be both spiritually and physically humble
Accepting the gospel means being ready to be spiritually and materially humble, just like Jesus Christ, who gave up his riches. When we receive the Holy Spirit, it encourages us to be incredibly generous, showing our spiritual need and our desire to follow Christ’s example. The gospel changes how we see wealth, freeing us from letting it define our value and security, and motivating us to share generously with those in need.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
February Book Offer