Reimagining the Kingdom

Reading: Mark 4:26-34 (NIV)

The thing that Jesus teaches about most in the bible is this strange, often vague, hard to understand thing called The Kingdom of God.

Everywhere he goes he’s telling people it’s arrived, or it’s near or it’s coming. And he tells his disciples that they have to spread the message of the Kingdom of God.

What was the good news Jesus proclaimed? That the Kingdom of God is near.

What secret was given to the disciples? That the secret of the kingdom of God.

What did Jesus teach parables about?
What the kingdom of God is like…a mustard seed, yeast, hidden treasure, a pearl, a net.

In summary, what was Jesus’ preaching all about?
Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.

You couldn’t shut him up about it! So the big question is, what the heck is this Kingdom all about? It can’t just be some after life place we go to when we die, because Jesus sometimes says it’s arrived. And it can’t be what life is like right now because Jesus says it’s still coming…

So, there are two options really – either a) Jesus was schizophrenic, or b) there’s more to this Kingdom thing than meets the eye.

In Jesus day the Jews were an oppressed people. Cesar was giving them a hard time and the Jews were hanging out for their long awaited messiah or king to turn up and do some arse kicking – and establish God’s Kingdom.

But when Jesus shows up – he starts messing with them. He uses all this language that sort of fits with what they’re wanting – stuff like Kingdom of God, or Kingdom of Heaven, or Reign of God – like he’s talking about a military empire – but he’s actually talking about a whole different kind of kingdom.

Jesus isn’t interested in blood and guts and power struggles – in fact the message he brings is the exact opposite. His kingdom is all upside down, where the weak and poor will be first, and that the rich and powerful will be last. Which is really just stupid when you think about it. And most of the Jews would have felt pretty let down by this Jesus guy. This wasn’t want they were expecting, definitely not what they wanted. They wanted some George Bush style military cleansing… they wanted to kill their enemies not love them.

So what exactly was Jesus getting at then? Firstly he seems to be saying that The Kingdom of God is now! Hence him always saying that it had arrived. But at the same time he’s saying, there’s still more Kingdom to come – hence him saying the kingdom is near! It’s already here but at the same time it’s not yet arrived. So we can live like the Kingdom is partially here – a bit like an early software program with some good points and some glitches – while looking forward to the day that it fully arrives at the end of history – when we get a full upgrade!

BUT this isn’t even the important stuff. The big question that we all have to wrestle with is what does it means to live in this already but not yet Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom is not limited to church, or even to Christians. It’s everywhere – it’s like the air we breathe – and everyone can be affected by it.

It’s counter cultural, it’s about following Jesus’ teachings and living out principals that go against the normal way of doing things.

It’s something to be experienced and done! Not something to sit around talking about in cafes all day…

All of the while holding onto the knowledge that God will one day, eventually bring about the Kingdom in it’s fullness – Version Eternal Life 10.0.

In Jesus’ day it made sense to talk about this whole thing in terms of it being a Kingdom – people were used to Kings and empires and all that stuff.

But if Jesus were here today – amongst today’s people – and bringing his radical message to us right now– what words and terms do you think he would use to talk about this new age and new way of living…what would his stories and parables be based around since most of us aren’t fishermen or farmers or lepers or virgins – but mental health workers and students and sound guys and urbanites. How would he describe this radical, counter cultural revolution that Jesus wants us to live, and how would he get us to understand?


Kingdom Cards1

Kingdom Cards2


1 Comment »

  1. Brad Said:

    Gods domain . he rules in heaven . hevenly authority is going to be enforced on earth . God is going to end mans governments . his kingdom is going to take back ownership of earth . Christ told his followers to pray for this kingdom to come , our goal as christians is to live in such a way as to be included into this kingdom as his people on earth when its time comes . life eternal under the rule of this kingdom is the promise God holds out to humankind

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