Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Kingdom of God

Acts 1:6-11 says, “So when they met together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.’”

Perhaps the reason they all are standing and staring at the sky after Jesus rises into the clouds is because He has just hit them with a load of bricks! They were saying to themselves – “The kingdom is still not coming? I’m to witness to all the earth? How?”

The disciples had seen Jesus killed by crucifixion and then buried, which was a tremendous surprise for them because they had expected Him to set up His earthly kingdom, put down His enemies, and rule the world from His throne in Jerusalem; and now they were again surprised, but happily so, to see that He had risen from the dead and was walking and talking with them. They, rightly so, once again expected Him to immediately set up His kingdom on the earth and take control of the affairs of the world. But He only gave them a command to go into the whole world and then He ascended into heaven!

But, is His earthly kingdom really in the future? Is He not the King now? In John 18:33-37 says, “Pilate… asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ … Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.’ ‘You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king...’”

Jesus’ kingdom is now, we don’t need to wait for a “secret” rapture and a mystical millennium to realize that His kingship and to subject ourselves to His authority. His kingdom is now, be His subject now.

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