In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
In the days of John the Baptist and then the coming of Jesus, the Jews were being ruled over by the Roman Empire. Many thought that the coming of the Savior Messiah would come with military might and the reestablishment of a Jewish state. But as we all know well, it was not this kind of kingdom that the Lord was setting to establish on his arrival. No, it would be one of repentance and of the Spirit. One defined by the life of Jesus and the subversion of our presuppositions of what a savior should be. One that taught “turning the other cheek” to be more powerful than striking back. One that used the cross (the most vile and torturous form of death in that day) and turned it into a symbol of freedom and eternal life!
So it strikes me as odd that so much of the Church post resurrection and even up until now still seem to approach the expansion of the Kingdom of God with such a militaristic perspective? In the same way the Lord came to show us our misconceptions of what His kingdom will be, we need to re-frame our thinking of what expansion of the kingdom should look like. One that is revealed by the character of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit. Maybe we should not be so concerned with “winning” souls for Christ, and more concerned with living lives that undeniably reveal Christ to the world.
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer:
“OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME, YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD. AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE ALSO HAVE FORGIVEN OUR DEBTORS. AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE.”