Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Reflections on Acknowleding God's Kingdom
Two strong themes run through the entire Bible: Covenant and Kingdom. We explored the covenant relationship that God has with his people in the fall when we discovered that being loved well by God strengthens our identity as his beloved children, and it is in this love relationship that we desire to align our lives with the life he taught us to live through his son, Jesus.
The Covenant relationship seems like all we could ever need; however, God in his ultimate generosity gives beyond what we could ever imagine by also inviting us into his kingdom where he reigns as King of the Universe.
I loved the two Christmas weeks. I would get up early, and come downstairs into the real darkness, turn on the Christmas lights and anticipate how Jesus would meet me that day. Each day was a gift as he recognized that I was anticipating his coming this Christmas and was eager to spend time with him.
It seems that I was to be impressed during those weeks that even though Jesus came to earth as a helpless baby, he also came as a king and would spend his life on earth declaring his kingship and kingdom. This is a restoration of how God originally designed the earth.
Remember the Garden of Eden? It was actually a kingdom, and God himself as King over it. He set Adam and Eve up to rule the Garden together with him. Imagine that: humans invited into a role that is designed for God of the Universe.
Read Psalms 146 as we discover more about the kingdom that God created:
Praise the LORD!
Let all that I am praise the LORD.
2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live.
I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.
3 Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.
4 When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
and all their plans die with them.
5 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
whose hope is in the LORD their God.
6 He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
7 He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
The LORD frees the prisoners.
8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down.
The LORD loves the godly.
9 The LORD protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows,
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.
10 The LORD will reign forever.
He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations.
Praise the LORD!
This is the upside down kingdom that Jesus came to demonstrate through his kingly activity on earth. His disciples continued to look for the might and rule that would overcome the ruthless Romans, but Jesus continued to show them through humility and servanthood what a true kingdom considers important:
Justice for the oppressed Food for the hungry Freedom for the prisoners
Blind eyes opened Alleviation of suffering Protection for the foreigners
Care for the orphans and widows
When Jesus began his ministry, the first thing that he did was go to his synagogue in Nazareth to declare his mission statement for his time on earth:
16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4:16-21)
This is the kingdom that God has planned since the beginning of time. Jesus read from the book of Isaiah, written hundreds of years before he was born. Jesus knew that his mission was to restore that which God originally purposed.
Our invitation is to join Jesus in bringing forth this kingdom. It is in direct opposition to the way that our world functions. The world functions through power and authority; Jesus functions through invitation and humility. How can we align our lives to live like Jesus did, caring about the kingdom activities that he shows us through his teachings, actions and miracles how to address?
Our is to live a life modeled after Jesus’ life. He tells us that we as his followers will do “greater works than he did” after he died. (John 14:12).
Are you up for the challenge as we enter into the new decade of 2010? What resolutions have you made to align your life like Jesus to enter into his kingdom building endeavors with him?
More next week on life with the king in his kingdom…..