Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What Kind of Kingdom? part 2

Just before his crucifixion, Jesus was questioned by Pilate, the Roman governor who thought he held power over Jesus’ life. Trying to decide what to do with this man, who seemed innocent enough, yet had raised such anger and hatred from the Jewish leaders, Pilate wanted to know if Jesus was indeed the King of the Jews.

Then Jesus answered, "I am not an earthly king. If I were, my followers would have fought when I was arrested by the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” Pilate replied, “You are a king then?” “You say that I am a king and you are right,” Jesus said. “I was born for that purpose. And I came to bring truth to the world. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true. (John 18:36-37)

Those who love truth will recognize Jesus for who He is. The Messiah. The true King. He came to heal the sick, to bring the Good News of the forgiveness of sin, to lift up the humble, to humble the proud, to obey His Heavenly Father even unto an unthinkable kind of death on the cross. Because of the joy set before Him. To give us life in all its fullness. Many didn’t, and still don’t, recognize Him for who He is.

For this was Jesus’ mission:
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:18-19, Jesus reading from Isaiah 61:1-2)

And those receiving blessing in His Kingdom were those whom people didn’t necessarily expect:
“God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them.
God blesses those who are hungry and thirsty for justice, for they will receive it in full.
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” (Matthew 5:3-10)

King Jesus first came to earth as an infant, born in Bethlehem to a girl named Mary. He grew up in Nazareth, and was known as the carpenter’s son (Matthew ). The crowds followed Him when He began to perform miracles, but then he ended up on a cross and was deserted by His followers.

God had given this message to Daniel, “the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing.” (Daniel 9:26) And so it seemed. Until the resurrection. And then it became clear that His death had, in fact, accomplished everything.

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