Thursday, October 04, 2018

Heaven's surprising kingdom

Crown of thorns
Crown of thorns - Image from
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 21-22; Psalm 119:97-128

 TO CHEW ON: " 'And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.' " Luke 22:29,30

Jesus talks a lot about His kingdom (also referred to as the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God). In His teaching and parables about it, we discover some interesting things.
  • Here we see that it doesn't operate by society's usual rules of prominence. Its prominent ones are those who distinguish themselves, not by their sophistication and worldly wisdom but by their "youngest" qualities. I take that to mean their complete, innocent, and unquestioning faith.
  • They are also willing to serve (Luke 22:26).
  • The kingdom is not fair but unfair in the wonderful way of elevating those who, by the class and status into which they're born, aren't candidates for elevation. Jesus confers entry into and prominence in the kingdom. It's a gift (Luke 22:29).
In other places Jesus gives more clues about His kingdom:
  • Luke 14:15 describes more unlikely kingdom recruits. It's not who we would expect but the poor, crippled, blind, and lame; all those who respond to the Master's invitation.
  • In Matthew 25:34+, Jesus describes the unusual way its makeup will be determined. He talks of a day "When the Son of Man comes in his glory"  (Matthew 25:31) as a day of sorting when He'll admit those who, unbeknownst to them, passed the kingdom's entry test by their compassion on earth (Matthew 25:35,36).
  • In 2 Timothy 2:12 the kingdom is given to those who "endure."

Though we are probably well familiar with these descriptions of the Kingdom, we do well to ask ourselves, have we internalized them? Does knowing them change our behavior?

Or, despite what we read in the Bible and hear expounded from the pulpit and elsewhere, will we still be surprised when, someday, we see the answer to what we've prayed thousands of times: "Your kingdom come..."?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, You've left us with plenty of information about your kingdom—which is already and which we hope to see in its fullness someday. Help me to order my life here on earth by its principles. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 119:97-128

Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptures quoted in this meditation are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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