Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of God – He said, It’s near, It’s come, It is within you/among you; and what a Kingdom! Totally unlike the kingdoms of this world, a kingdom of righteousness, peace (Shalom), joy in the Holy Spirit.
He is both the King and the Kingdom. Everything he said and did exhibited and demonstrated His Kingship and the Kingdom, every healing, every deliverance, every act of forgiveness, every provision, every resurrection, his life, his death, his own resurrection and ascension – He reigns!
The King has come and is to come. The Kingdom is here and yet it’s still coming. One day it will be here in fullness. Revelation holds out for us a glorious hope that there will one day be new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells, where there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more sin, no more death, and God will dwell with man in uninterrupted fellowship. Such a vision and kept and sustained many a saint down through the ages.
But we are not there yet.
We live in the overlap of the ages.
There’s the tension – perhaps you are feeling it right now.
Some are healed, others are not; some have amazing provision, others are lacking; some get out of prison, others don’t; some are involved in serious accidents, others escape; some suffer at huge cost for their faith in Jesus, others very little, and so we could go on. These are realities, let’s not hide from them.
I think of Heb 11. We are familiar with the first part, the people who saw amazing things through faith, but the latter part is not so comfortable, it’s about people who had faith, kept the faith, but didn’t see the answers, and yet the writer says the world was not worthy of them! There are people like that today, all over the world.
It’s in the midst of this tension that the business of the kingdom belongs.
Jesus said, “When you pray, say, ….Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in the Heavens.” That’s a recognition that all is not as it should be. And we pray, we call on God, we petition Him.
Jesus also said, “Seek first the kingdom of God…” That’s something we are called to do. It involves longing, desire, time, effort. It’s active not passive. We don’t just pray. We don’t sit back and wait. We get involved. Passivity is the devils tactic and through it he immobilizes us and make us useless. Resist it. Stir yourself up in God. Get praying, get into the Word, don’t wait till you feel ‘led’, most often you wont. Get about the King’s business!
It’s messy. Yes. It’s the nature of things in this overlap of the ages. Kingdom business is not like a factory production line – floors nice and clean, all the machinery in the right place doing the right job. All the parts/ingredients being feed in, and everything coming out at the end as planned. No. Jesus tells us a different story. Those who are blessed will be persecuted. The sowing of the seed doesn’t guarantee a harvest – there’s stony ground right through to good ground, and even in that which falls on the good ground produces varying results: some 30, some 60, some 100 fold. Then you have the parable of the wheat and tares – in the midst of the sowing an enemy has gone and thrown in some tares (See Matt. 13).
I grew up on a farm, spent a number of years in horticulture and landscape and garden work. It’s not like a factory, there are all sorts of variables. It’s not clinical, it’s organic. It’s not clean and efficient, it’s messy and unpredictable. That’s the picture Jesus gives us for Kingdom business now.
But, and it’s a big one, in the midst of this the Kingdom grows! (See again Matt. 13).