Category: Jesus, Word: KINGDOM OF GOD
November 20, 2015 | by: Kendell Easley, prepared by Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: 52 Words
30. KINGDOM OF GOD
Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1:14-15)
DEFINITION: The kingdom of God is His rule through His messianic King. According to Jesus’ teaching, the kingdom was both present and future. All who believe in and follow Him are already in the kingdom, yet the kingdom will be gloriously revealed at the return of Christ.
Aside from teaching about the meaning of His coming death, no topic was more important to Jesus than the kingdom of God. This phrase or the equivalent “kingdom of heaven” occurs about 80 times in the Gospels. The usual English translation is not particularly good, for the kingdom (Greek basileia) is not a place but rather a condition or state of affairs. John the Baptist had announced that the kingdom was near, meaning that the promised Messiah was about to arrive. Later, Jesus proclaimed that it had already arrived (Matt. 12:28). He brought the kingdom because He was the King of the kingdom. It arrived in His person.
Jesus proclaimed the kingdom in a way that diverged sharply from the typical first-century Jewish expectation. The Jews were generally looking for a military-political leader who would destroy the Roman yoke. His coming (the Day of the Lord) would be sudden, irresistible, and visible to everyone. The Jewish understanding looked something like this:
Jesus’ view was shaped by His understanding that, as the Messiah, He was to have two comings, not just one. Thus, in His first coming He truly brought the kingdom. Yet He brought it in a form that was gradual, resistible, and largely invisible. Only in His second coming in glory will the kingdom come with irresistible might. His understanding was like this:
Jesus’ first coming brought the age to come. Yet He did not do away with this age, which will occur only at His return. Thus, followers of Jesus today experience the tension of being partakers of the kingdom—submitting to the King as Lord and Savior—yet still living in this rebellious age. Jesus explained that His followers are in the world but not of the world (Jn. 17:13-14). Thus, Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of God in His first coming, but in His second coming He will consummate the kingdom.
REFLECTION: Why should today’s followers of Christ consider the kingdom to be important? Describe the differences between this age and the age to come (the kingdom of God.)
PRAYER: Father, I praise You that Your Son reigns as King over the kingdom. I want to live joyfully today as His loyal subject. I long for the day when the kingdom will be complete. Amen.
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.