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JESUS PROCLAIMED THE KINGDOM OF GOD

JESUS PROCLAIMED THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Jesus Proclaims the Kingdom of God (Photo by Pastor Davis)

 

by Shirley Rhodes

Jesus challenged the people to expect God’s rein and to change their lives to fit the will of God:

Even during his teachings, Jesus did not limit himself to teaching behind closed doors, associate with or establish his ministry among wealth, political programs, and social transformation or even with the end of the world. He spoke of the kingdom of God as something in the future and also as present in his own ministry. He even made it clear to those who listen that, “the kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed”; rather “the kingdom of God is in the mist of you” (Luke: 17: 20-21).

          Understanding the meaning of these words are so, so important for us today because many of us live with the illusion that once they have completed this earthly realm, they will progress to a place where all share in one big joyous event. Jesus clearly lets’ us know that we are living in God’s kingdom here, this is his creation, his gift to mankind (his created beings) and there is no end to the universe. Many find it almost impossible to wrap their minds around this reality.

Jesus often preferred to define the Kingdom of God by the kinds of people to whom it belonged:

Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God(Luke 6:20). “Let the children come to me, for such belongs to the kingdom of God(Mark 10:14). “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God(John 3:3). Jesus taught through parables and a person that was around him was able to recognize every-day things such as seeds, yeast, vineyards etc.

Jesus faced opposition in his teachings but never faltered, he confronted their slander:

“This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse. There’s nothing said or done that can’t be forgiven, but if you deliberately persist in your slander against God’s Spirit, you are repudiating the very one who forgives. If you reject the Son of Man out of some misunderstanding, the Holy Spirit can forgive you, but when you reject the Holy Spirit, you’re sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives. If you grow a healthy tree, you’ll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you’ll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree” (Matthew 12:25-33).

As many of the people opposed Jesus’ teachings, their anger would eventually filter down to Judas, one of his disciples who would later betray him, resulting in his trial and execution.  It was not until after this event that the full meaning of his message was clear in the hearts of his followers. When they realized God had raised Jesus from the dead and they received the Holy Spirit their agenda was to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world. That today is our mission as well.

Jesus commanded us to go:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)

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