I’ve been thinking a lot about the “kingdom of God.” When Jesus began His ministry, the Bible tells us, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 4:17). Later Jesus sent the disciples out to preach to the towns and cities. His instructions were, “And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 10:7). In fact, if you were to summarize the whole teaching of Jesus, it would be captured in this phrase “kingdom of God” (the same as “kingdom of heaven”). Why is this so important to us? The word “kingdom” refers to a rule and realm belonging to a king. Let’s remember that the Bible is God’s story about himself and about life that He created. God has never stopped ruling and reigning in the world He created. However, the entrance of sin brought death and destruction as Satan tries his best to usurp the power of God. Jesus, the Son of God, came to destroy the works of the enemy and usher in the final chapter of human history. The Jews of Jesus’ day looked for the Messiah (the prince of the kingdom) who would bring the kingdom. Most of them failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah because of their preconceived ideas of this Messiah as a military warrior. Jesus needed to come first as a humble servant in order to provide forgiveness for our sins. He gave His life for us as the sacrificial lamb of God. In His preaching, Jesus proclaimed the kingdom was “at hand” meaning that in himself the kingdom was present. The King had arrived as promised; the King would rule and reign as promised! The first coming of Jesus is the inauguration of the kingdom, and the second coming of Jesus will witness the culmination of the kingdom. As followers of Jesus, we live in the present rule and reign of Jesus through faith and obedience. This means we give ourselves to Him and allow Him to live in us and through us. Jesus is Lord! We also allow the hope of His return to impact us right now. Through Christ, we know who we are and where we’re going! The Apostle Peter describes our identity as kingdom people by declaring, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). What an honor to belong to the King and His kingdom!
Pastor Mark Boucher