"The Lord reigns", declares the Psalmist. This is the fundamental premise of the Old Testament. God rules and no human or spiritual figure outperforms or outclasses Yahweh in any way. It should not surprise us to discover that the key, prophetic proclamation of Jesus, the Son of God, centres on the arrival of "the Kingdom of God" (Mark 1:14-15) in a new way specifically in his ministry.
Various translations of this significant phrase can be found: ‘the rule of God’; ‘the leadership of God’; ‘the strength of God’; ‘God’s kingly reign’. Whichever rendition we choose, it must communicate that God’s ability and intent to exercise His good, just and graceful rule in our world has arrived in a new, profound way in Jesus Christ. Immediately this rule becomes evident as Jesus orders around demons, brings wholeness to diseased and crippled people, controls storms, declares human rebellion against God forgiven, and proclaims to all the "good news of God". He challenges evil on every hand and expresses God’s goodness in every act and word.
Many have argued that Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom applies to a future action of God. However, Jesus’ own statements urge us to believe that God’s rule is now present and active in our world and God invites us through Jesus to partner with Him in extending this rule over every part of our world. When Jesus returns at the Second Coming, God’s rule will be applied perfectly and completely throughout the universe in the creation of a ‘new heavens and a new earth’.
The implications of Jesus’ teaching are immense. He implores us, based upon his personal sacrifice at the cross, to accept God’s offer to ‘enter the Kingdom’. This requires a complete life-change, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit. And then, as we follow God’s leadership, we begin to implement God’s Kingdom agenda here and now, personally and corporately as the church. We fulfill God’s will on earth.
Our challenge as partners with God lies in demonstrating His rule personally and corporately in our relationships, decisions, priorities and actions. We are required by love and by loyalty to do God’s will. As Jesus said, those who do the will of God are his family members (Mark 3:34-35). Obedience becomes the watchword; love for God and our neighbours occupies central place in our ethics.
- take 30 minutes this week and read Mark 1-8 and identify the various ways in which God’s rule finds expression through Jesus’ life;
- think of one new way in which you personally can demonstrate God’s rule through your life today and ask God to help you accomplish it with joy.