It’s election season in the U.S. – the time where imperfect people vote for their favorite imperfect candidate who will bring imperfect leadership to an imperfect government. Once the imperfections are discovered within this imperfect president, suddenly the masses are shocked in horror that an imperfect person has behaved imperfectly.
Every day that I awake in the US of A, my allegiance continues to wander further from such temporary empires towards a Kingdom without end.
What if you discovered that there was a Kingdom led by a perfect Ruler? What if you discovered that this Kingdom was built on truth, goodness, grace, mercy, hope, and life? What if you knew that this Kingdom would outlast every earthly government and regime? What if you learned that your citizenship was granted by the sacrificial blood of the King, not by merit or country of birth?
Wouldn’t it be fascinating to find out that this eternal Kingdom is already among us – a tribe of the redeemed who have been awakened by Jesus?
Far too often, when the topic of the Kingdom of Jesus is mentioned within the Church, we often think of going to Heaven when we die, not a Kingdom that is among us in the here-and-now on earth.
As a follower of Jesus, I do believe that we will either spend eternity with God or apart from God. But what if it’s so much more than that?
I am compelled to believe that when Jesus resides in the hearts of humanity, the Kingdom is among them. If that is the case, then the Church (God’s Kingdom on earth – the Body of Christ) is called to bring the Kingdom to all of humanity – here and now – not just to preach about avoiding hell when we die.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16
Last week, Beth and I had coffee in the city with several friends who are passionate followers of Jesus. As we were leaving, we stopped on the sidewalk to wrap up our conversation, but stayed longer than we planned. Before we left, a homeless man named Mark walked up to us, asking us if we had heard some Justin Bieber song (which I don’t know, because I have good musical taste). Mark was an alcoholic and completely intoxicated during our conversation (this explains why he liked Justin Bieber). And yet, we welcomed Mark to the conversation and didn’t walk away. My friend Shin poured out love, grace, compassion, and the heart of Jesus towards this broken man, reminding him of how valuable he is in God’s eyes. I watched a homeless alcoholic break down in tears as he heard that Jesus loves him…The Kingdom was among us, revealing itself through our love and the words of Shin. THAT is what the Kingdom of God looks like when it comes to earth.
“Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, ‘The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.’” – Luke 17:20-21
God’s Kingdom is already among you…
As followers of Jesus, we don’t enter the Kingdom of God when we die; the Kingdom of God entered our world when Jesus stepped into human flesh, dying for us on the cross. The Kingdom is the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ are those who follow Him. We are strangers in a foreign land, yet members of an eternal Kingdom that is already among us.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7
Decaying earthly bodies (jars of clay) filled with the eternal Spirit of God.
If you are following Jesus, do you realize that the Kingdom of Jesus is among us NOW?
Maybe you don’t follow Jesus and this sounds like crazy talk. And yet, I have to ask: wouldn’t it be incredible if you found out that there is an eternal Kingdom led by an eternal God who is eternally good, just, gracious, loving, and merciful? Wouldn’t it be even more incredible to discover that Jesus wants to awaken your spirit, inviting you to bring hope and life to a hurting world around you?
The Kingdom of Jesus is among you now, awakening the hearts of humanity.
To whom will you pledge allegiance?