Series: “Christ’s Kingdom” (post #1)
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36, N.K.J.V.)
Jesus didn’t say that He doesn’t have a kingdom. He said that His kingdom is not of this world. In other words, His kingdom is a heavenly one, not an earthly one. Jesus Himself referred to it as “the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 4:17) and “the kingdom of God” (Matthew 12:26).
This kingdom was a major focus of Christ’s preaching. The gospel of Luke says that Jesus and His chosen 12 apostles went through every city and village, preaching and proclaiming the “glad tidings of the kingdom of God” (Luke 8:1, N.K.J.V.). Similarly, when Jesus sent the chosen 12 out to preach on their own, the message they preached was “the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:2, N.K.J.V.).
As further proof of how inextricably linked Jesus is to His kingdom, even the gospel message itself is referred to as “the gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 9:35; 24:14 N.K.J.V.) and “the word of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:19, N.K.J.V.). Furthermore, Jesus began many of His parables with the words, “The kingdom of heaven is like…” (Matthew 13:24-52, N.K.J.V.). Clearly, He wanted people to understand that His kingdom is a very real kingdom, one that stands in direct contrast to the kingdom of this world.
The Bible teaches that Jesus voluntarily left His kingdom and came down to this earth to interact with its kingdom. He did this as a rescue mission to allow each member of the human race the opportunity to be saved from having to spend all eternity being punished for their sins. Philippians 2:9 describes this as Jesus making Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men (N.K.J.V.).
Sadly, the “kingdom” aspect of the message of Jesus has gotten lost in all of our preaching about His virgin birth, His sinless life, His miracles, His teachings, His sacrificial death, and His glorious resurrection. Don’t get me wrong, we should be preaching all of these other things. They are necessary. They are fundamental. They are all part of the package of the message of Jesus. But there’s another part of that same package, and it’s the part about Christ’s kingdom. And we dare not omit that part because Jesus certainly didn’t omit it.
So, to familiarize us again with the idea of Christ’s kingdom, I’m going to devote the next few posts to the subject. We’re going to learn the basics of what the Bible teaches about this kingdom, and, most importantly, we’re going to learn how this kingdom has a direct bearing upon not only the Christian’s eternal existence but also his or her earthly one. Therefore, Christian, I hope that you will join me for this little series. I know that the material we’ll be covering has become a well of great blessing in my life, and I truly believe that it will do the same for you.