At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. (Luke 4:42)Jesus was thus clarifying that for him to stay in that town would go against part of the mission given to him - to go to "the other towns also."
With this statement, Jesus is also explaining simply and directly that he was sent by someone else: God. When a person says, "I was sent" they are indicating that someone else has sent them. This clarifies that they are not on their own mission: They are on a mission determined by someone else.
What does being sent mean?
Let's say that we are taking a vacation in another country and we come upon a person who is also from our country. But instead of being on a vacation, the person says that they were sent there by our country's government. What does that indicate?
It indicates that they are not there to vacation as we are. Someone else has determined their purpose for being in the country. While we might be doing what we want by going on vacation, they are doing what someone else wants by traveling to that country.
This is precisely what Jesus is saying. He is saying that he was sent to earth to accomplish a mission. But whose mission? Who sent Jesus?
This is made clear in so many other statements Jesus made:
"I stand with the Father, who sent me." (John 8:18)
"I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me." (John 8:18)
"If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but He sent me." (John 8:42)
"For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it." (John 12:49)
"These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." (John 14:24)Jesus also clarified that by accepting his teachings, one is accepting God, who sent him:
"He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the One who sent me." (Matt. 10:40)These statements by Jesus completely contradict the teachings of many sectarian institutions and their clergy who proclaim that Jesus is God, while ignoring the personal existence of the Supreme Being.
The fact is, for a person to be sent by another requires two individuals: The sender and the one being sent. They cannot be the same person.
Yet it is easy to confuse them because they have the same message. The sender is sending the message, while the messenger is passing along that message.
But when the message being sent also includes clarification that the messenger is being sent by someone else, that should clarify that the sender is not the messenger. Jesus is making such a clarification.
And to ignore this is to ignore Jesus' teachings.
Especially since Jesus' teachings - his message - is specifically about the Sender, God.
Here the translation indicates Jesus said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." (Luke 4:43).
What is the "good news of the kingdom of God"?
In fact, there is nothing in the Greek indicating Jesus said "good news" at all. This was inserted by ecclesiastical translators of some of the Bible translations - but not all. Several Bible translations do not include the phrase "good news of" at all. Why the discrepancy? Because the Greek does not indicate Jesus said "good news."
What Jesus really said was εὐαγγελίσασθαί με δεῖ τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ, which indicates that he simply said he "must preach the kingdom of God".
This means that the central operator of the phrase is "kingdom," translated from the Greek word, βασιλεία (basileia).
To translate the Greek word βασιλεία (basileia) to "kingdom" however, covers its actual meaning, not only here, but in other statements by Jesus.
The word choice for the translation makes it seem that Jesus is speaking about a physical place, a "kingdom," typically construed as a country or physical location. And while there is certainly a spiritual realm, which is part of God's βασιλεία (basileia), this is not the thrust of Jesus' statement here.
The Greek word βασιλεία (basileia), according to the lexicon, means "royal power, kingship, dominion, rule." Thayer's lexicon also adds, "not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom."
This means the phrase βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ does not refer to a location kingdom as many confer it. But rather, to God's ultimate authority and power. God's dominion over everything.
Thus, the more appropriate translation for βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ as indicated in the Gospels of Jesus, would be:
"Sanctuary of God"
and the more appropriate translation of his full statement:
But he told them, “I must preach about the sanctuary of God to the other villages also, because I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43)This explains why some of the sectarian translators have needed to insert "good news of". Because they misunderstood Jesus' statement altogether. Jesus was not delivering a message with news from a location. It wasn't as if Jesus was a paperboy delivering a newspaper or something.
Rather, Jesus was sent by a person. He was on a personal mission. And his mission was to convey that God offers us sanctuary because everyone is seeking protection - sanctuary.
We can also understand from Jesus' statement that he was praising God. For a person to say that they have come to instruct others to devote themselves to the ultimate authority is not as though there is some kind of power struggle going on between God and humans.
For example, if a conquering emperor from the ancient days sends a messenger to the country he conquered, the message by the ambassador might be something akin to "my emperor is now your king" or "my emperor now governs all of you." This communication follows a struggle for power, wherein the emperor's army defeated the conquered nation's army.
The Supreme Being is in no such position, however. He never needs to prove His authority and His power. This is because He already has it. He is never threatened. His power and control could never be overpowered by His creation.
To say that the Supreme Being's power or authority could be overpowered would deny His position as God - meaning all-powerful. It would say that God is fallible to the very things He created.
God is never challenged or threatened by His creation
God's authority is never threatened by His creation, regardless of those who seek that authority over others. With a simple thought, He could wipe out every creature. There is no limit to His power and authority, and His creation is limited: His creation is limited by His very creation of them. Thus, there is no way His creation could get out of His control, because He created His creation.
And God's ultimate authority is not affected by our concept of His authority or lack thereof.
So why would Jesus be sent to preach about taking sanctuary in God? Because he is speaking of our need to devote ourselves to God.
Because we, being infallible, have forgotten our relationship with Him. Because we, being tiny living specs of His creation, have forgotten about His existence. We have forgotten that He is our Best Friend and Soul Mate.
This necessitates the question: Why have we forgotten our relationship with God?
This brings us back to our identity and reason for our creation, and the reason we are here in this physical world.
The Supreme Being created us as His loving caregivers. Each of us was created by Him to exchange a loving relationship with Him and be one of His caregivers.
But because real love requires the freedom not to love, the Supreme Being also gave us the choice to love Him or not.
For those who chose not to love Him, He created a virtual and temporary facility - the physical universe - for us to live within temporary physical bodies that shield us from seeing Him, and allow us to forget Him.
This is why the physical bodies we currently occupy cannot see God with our eyes or perceive God with our mind. It is because these physical bodies were designed to shield us from God so that we could exercise our self-centered desires.
What are these self-centered desires?
The primary one is the desire to be God. As soon as we rejected loving God, our natural tendency to love transformed into envy, and our natural love of God transformed into the desire to be God. We became envious of God. We wanted to be the center of attention. We wanted to be the hero and the object of others' love and praise.
So the Supreme Being gave us a virtual world where we could act out our self-centered desires. This virtual world by necessity had to shield us from the Supreme Being - because as long as we continued to see Him in His glory, we could no longer pretend to be the hero.
This is why most of us spend our lives trying to be rich, powerful, famous or otherwise accomplish positions of authority or heroism. We want to be in His position. But any glimpse of authority or heroism we may maintain during our few decades we are in these bodies is quickly lost: Each of us loses everything upon the death of this physical body.
The Supreme Being, who ultimately loves us and wants us to be happy, knows that we are each unhappy with our chase for false authority. Thus, He periodically sends us His messengers to try to convince us that we will be happier if we return to Him. We will be happier if we return to our natural positions of being one of His loving caregivers.
But only we can make this choice. He does not force this choice upon us. Despite the fact that we are enslaved by the physical world and its various attractions, we still have that one ultimate freedom, granted by Him: To love Him or not.
This is Jesus' purpose for coming
This is the purpose of Jesus' visit to our planet. He has been sent by God to remind us of God's ultimate authority, and the fact we can only be happy when we renew our devotional relationship with Him. None of us will achieve any fulfillment by trying to capture a slice of authority here. We will only be happy if we return to our natural position as one of His humble loving caregivers.
This is why Jesus traveled from town to town. Because this information is being offered to those who are serious about finding the solution to their lonely and empty existence here in the physical world. Those who are serious and ready to hear the Truth from God's representative become attracted by that Truth: And thus they begin their journey back home to their natural position in the spiritual realm.
Thus, following Jesus' statement, the Gospel of Luke confirms:
And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of the Judea [or land of the Jews]. (Luke 4:44)We must also understand that Jesus' words, βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ, were not spoken as a threat or warning that someone else is in control. They were spoken lovingly. They were spoken in praise of God. To preach that "the Supreme Being has ultimate authority" to others is to praise God.
Just consider if a young child went to a school-yard and proclaimed to all his friends: "My Dad is the strongest!" Why would the child say that? Was he saying that his Dad was going to beat up all the other kids?
No, the child is glorifying his Dad. He loves His Dad and is spreading the glory of his Dad throughout the playground.
This is Jesus' intention. Jesus loves the Supreme Being. They share an intimate loving relationship. So Jesus was praising His beloved.
And the Supreme Being sent Him for this purpose: To bring those who were ready back to Him. Does this mean the Supreme Being needs us? That He sent Jesus because He needs us to acknowledge Him? No. The Supreme Being does not need us. God created countless loving caregivers, and He is always surrounded by them. He needs none of them.
But God loves each and every one of us unconditionally and wants us to be happy. And the only way we will be happy is if we return to our natural position of loving Him and caring for Him. This is why Jesus' most important teaching was:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'" (Luke 10:27)