(This is a continuation from last week’s post. You can find the first part here.)
To illustrate the answer, and the accompanying framework that hopefully simplifies it for us, let me tell a story…
My wife, Emily, works for a large financial corporation and recently transitioned into a role where she analyzes the effectiveness of their training for lenders. I know what you’re thinking…sounds like a barn burner of a role!
She actually loves her job and the people she works with, including her supervisor. In one particular conversation with her supervisor, she was told that they were looking to hire a new employee with a masters and/or PhD in “descriptive statistics” to help use big data in the evolution and analysis of their training effectiveness.
Just like we do in the church world, Emily’s supervisor was thinking that more education would be the key to unlocking their greatest potential. Emily, however, began reading a book on the subject and discovered something…it turns out that through an Excel add-on, anyone with a computer and Microsoft Office can accomplish the goal they were thinking they’d have to hire an (overly) educated addition to the team to do.
Again, this is an (overly) long way of illustrating that when it comes to the Kingdom of God, the key is resourceful action over knowledge. The Kingdom of God is something to live into and pursue through our action…not something to be studied from the outside. That’s what the Kingdom of God has to do with you.
And even more pointed, the Kingdom of God has to do with whoever is right in front of you.
So we’re through the warning and the framework regarding the Kingdom of God. Now onto the overview…
For this, we will turn to a passage from Mark’s narrative of Jesus’ ministry and a few places in the physician-turned-journalist, Luke’s, account as well. Mark writes, “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!'” So, first of all, according to Jesus, the Gospel or good news is that the Kingdom of God has come near. Is our personal salvation a part of this good news? Of course! But it’s sooooo much more!
And as you can read, the proclamation of the Kingdom of God is accompanied by an instruction. Repent and believe.
Then Jesus gives us some further glimpses of the Kingdom in a few different places we read of in Luke’s documentation of his ministry. Looking at 8:1-3, 10:8-9, and 17:20-21, we can understand that:
- the Kingdom of God is good and it is good news
- the values in the Kingdom of God are often counter-cultural to values in kingdoms of man
- Jesus will use whatever means He so chooses to support and grow the Kingdom of God, including the earthly wealth of those who are in power at the top of kingdoms of man and at odds with the Kingdom of God, such as that of Herod Antipas himself
- the Kingdom of God is accompanied by healing, often times miraculous
- the Kingdom of God is less tangible and more mysterious than kingdoms of man
There is so much we can understand about the Kingdom of God by looking at the narrative of the Old Testament as well, but as you can see here, we get a great view and understanding from the ministry of Jesus.
So the next time you read or hear someone talking about the gospel, consider what they are really saying. Is it the whole gospel? And what does it look like for you to live as a citizen of this Kingdom?