This year has brought with it so many events on both global and personal levels that had my heart crying, “Your kingdom come”.
What does the “kingdom” mean?
In Hebrew it is malkut and in Greek it’s basileia. Both of these mean “to rule or reign”. Second to this ruling and reigning, they indicate a tangible place over which that rule happens. So mostly, this type of kingdom is more about who is the Sovereign than it is about a physical kingdom.
We hear glimpses of what the kingdom is like throughout the gospels when Jesus talks about it. He compared it to soil, wheat being separated from the trash, a mustard seed, some yeast, a treasure buried in field, and a pearl .
Jesus also says some other interesting things about the kingdom. Like, the kingdom belongs to those who are like children. When those religious rule-keepers called Pharisees asked him when the kingdom would come, Jesus told them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” (Luke 17:20-21).
He also said people from all over would be hanging out a table with the Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (a pretty HUGE deal for the Jews he was talking to). He said the kingdom belongs to those who suffer for loving him and to those who realize their desperate need for him. He told his followers they’d be going into towns healing people in his name and they should tell the healed that the kingdom of God has come near to them. So the Kingdom is healing power.
Paul wrote that the kingdom is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit and that comes in more power than any of our words. The author of Hebrews wrote that the kingdom cannot be shaken and that it inspires awe-filled worship. Jesus’ brother, James, wrote with the Holy Spirit that God goes after the poor and needy to make them members of the kingdom.
The Kingdom belongs to people who aren’t trying to look good or impress anybody, even themselves. They are not plotting how they can call attention to themselves, worrying about how their actions will be interpreted or wondering if they will get gold stars for their behavior.The child doesn’t have to struggle to get himself in a good position for having a relationship with God; he doesn’t have to craft ingenious ways of explaining his position Jesus; he doesn’t have to create a pretty face for himself; he doesn’t have to achieve any state of spiritual feeling or intellectual understanding. All he has to do is happily accept the gift of the Kingdom.:: Brennan Manning ::
The Kingdom came and told us with words what the kingdom was like. He showed us with his life what the kingdom looks like. But this wasn’t the first time the Kingdom was discussed in scripture.
700 years before the kingdom came to us in the birth of Christ, Isaiah writes, that the Spirit of God would be on him and that he would bring forth justice for all the nations (Can I get an amen?!). It’s written there in chapter 42 that He won’t break the bruised reed or put out a faintly burning flame. This is not a kingdom that looks to rid itself of the weak and broken. The Kingdom is gentle, but never because it is weak. Isaiah prophesies that “he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged until he has established justice in the earth; the coastlands wait for his law.”
A paraphrase won’t do. I just really have to leave all this right here….
Says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
:: Isaiah 42:5-9 ::
This same kingdom is prophesied in the coming of a rescuer who Isaiah says would have “no form or majesty that we should look at him and no beauty that we should desire him.” In fact, here comes the kingdom and Isaiah says those he comes for will “despise and reject him” and “hide their faces” from him.
This prophesied rescuer, Jesus, is the Kingdom and rule of God made manifest to bring our redemption. The Creator King of the kingdom could not stay away from his own. He was there walking in the garden with his children, in the low whisper for Elijah’s ears, there in the fire to rescue his faithful, in the bush that burned with Shekinah glory to send a rescue, in a tent in the middle of nowhere where the Kingdom came through to make a holy space where He could talk with his children. The Kingdom was coming in unexpected places all throughout our history as humans until the time finally came for the Kingdom to come and be WITH us and never leave us. He came in quiet and small. He came knowing we, who need the rescue of the kingdom, would reject and despise him. The purposes and the presence of the Kingdom cannot be stopped.
Lord of Glory, thank you for coming! Please come again for us now. Come for those with childlike hope and expectation, for the ones with small seeds of faith, for those who see the treasure you are. Kingdom, come for the ones suffering for your name, for those who need a light to dawn, for the ones with a flame barely flickering, for those desperate for your Kingdom justice. You came and unto us you were born. Let your presence in us make things as you meant the Kingdom…as it is in Heaven
Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.:: Charles Wesley 1744 ::
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
:: Revelation 21: 1-5 ::