Chosing King or Kingdom

Mark 1:14-15



After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus begins His ministry with a triumphant declaration that the "Kingdom of God" is present and tangible.  His listeners would have had a clear image of what the "Kingdom of God" should look like, unfortunately, that image was dead wrong.  To many people at the time of Jesus, the Kingdom of God was thought to be a political entity inwhich God would use a conquering Messiah to make Israel a global superpower and throw off the shackles of Roman oppression.  They misunderstood the nature of the revolution by limiting the vision to military, economic, and political might, as opposed to a fundamental transformation of humanity.

My thought today, is that we can be sincere in our anticipation of what God is doing, but also be dead wrong in our understand.

The concept of the Kingdom of God is central to the teachings of Jesus Christ.  While he does not develop a systematic approach to his teachings or a complex organization to promote his teachings, he remained steadfast that what He was doing, and what his followers after him will do, is usher in the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is simply the domain inwhich recognizes, and realizes the reign of God.  It is a sphere of life, possibly even a culture, as opposed to a place or political entity, that is completely surrendered and submitted to the will and way of God.  Like the parable of the yeast, it may begin small but transforms and completely reorients lives, cultures, and yes, the entire world.  The Kingdom was once aptly described by Cornelius Platinga as "The way that things are supposed to be".

We are living in a day, where there is a struggle between those who prefer to proclaim a King that is devoid of a kingdom, and those who prefer to proclaim a kingdom, devoid of a King. 

Those who want the King, but not the kingdom describe a "personal relationship" with Jesus, but refuse to submit to his kingdom principles of justice, compassion, and service in their communities.  There is a disconnect between accepting Jesus and following Jesus.

Those who want a kingdom without a King, describe the need for true social reform, but prefer to avoid that social awkwardness that is perceived to result from proclaiming Jesus as King and the initiator of real transformation.
 
Both misunderstandings are sterile and ultimately ineffective.  What God is calling his church is a proclamation and demonstration of both King and Kingdom.  The recognition of the Lordship of Jesus and a commitment to follow him while understanding the implication of following Jesus in our economic, political, social, and even military systems.
 
Lets refuse to accept King without Kingdom, or Kingdom without King today and participate in the demonstration that the Kingdom of God is at hand!
 
God bless,
 
Pastor M Traylor