So what do we think of when we talk about the Kingdom of God?
Most Jews of Jesus’ time viewed “the Kingdom” as an impressive, visible, lavishly adorned system of government, similar to the secular kingdoms that ruled at that time.
It would be ruled by the “Messiah”, the “anointed one”, promised throughout the Old Testament scriptures.
He would kick out all the Romans, heal all their diseases, everyone would be rich & happy and they would rule the whole earth!
They were rather disappointed with their latest Messiah-figure. He didn't fit their preconceived ideas at all!
True, He healed their diseases and fed them miraculously, but He also said a lot of politically incorrect stuff which certainly got up the nose of the religious leaders, at least.
So, they gave Him the flick -- or so they thought.
Even after Jesus had risen, his disciples still had this mindset of a political solution when they asked Him if He was restoring the kingdom to Israel. His reply was very interesting!
The kingdom that Jesus described was totally different to what they expected.
Have a look at what He said:
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation;
21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
The word for “Within” (Gk entos) = Within, inside
- In the midst of you
- Within you i.e. your soul
And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’
But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.
17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
We need to look beyond the natural, with regenerated eyes, before we can understand what the Kingdom of God is really like. Most people can only see groups of wierd Christians jumping up and down, singing the Songs of Zion.
That's their perception, at least.
But in the spirit realm, there's a massive gathering of the armies of God, ready to follow even the youngest believing child, to take over and restore this battered world to the paradise it was meant to be.
Even now, it's so much more powerful and far-reaching than any other government that has ever existed!
Throughout history, all governments and charismatic figures that start off with a fanfare of promises, usually end up being a disappointment. Then they get voted out or overturned in a coup in favour of the next marvellous government.
- So often we look to a change of government to improve our situation,
whereas Jesus is calling us to a Change of Heart to improve our destiny.
When Jesus had His last meal before His crucifixion, He alluded to the Kingdom of the future.
“But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
That’s when the invisible kingdom becomes visible.
What an awesome communion service that would be!
When we take communion, let’s eat & drink with that Kingdom reality inside of us, allowing Jesus to be King in our hearts.
That may mean some repentance, or at least a new revelation of what God’s Kingdom is really like.