At the center of Jesus’ gospel proclamation was a kingdom message. He announced the Kingdom. He told parables about the Kingdom. He spoke of the coming supremacy of the Kingdom. It is hard to miss that Jesus’ good news was an announcement that God’s Kingdom had come, and people could enter and live in this Kingdom in the present (Mark 1.14-15). In our modern world where Kingdoms and Kings are rare, we are not exactly sure what to do with his message. What does it mean to say Jesus’ gospel was all about Kingdom? How do we translate his message in such a manner that our modern world hears it as good news when we don’t fully understand it ourselves?
Unable to wrap our minds around Jesus’ proclamation of Kingdom, we either reduce his gospel message to a proclamation about the availability of personal salvation or an impassioned call to bring about liberating justice. Those who reduce it to a salvation message withdraw from the world because Kingdom work is spiritual. They accuse those who work for justice as engaging in a false, works-based gospel. People who reduce Jesus’ message to one of justice point out that anyone who reads the gospels can’t align this spiritual withdrawal with the life of Jesus, the very image into which the gospel is meant to transform us. For them, the gospel is about the liberation of the bound and freedom for the oppressed. Both sides accuse the other of missing the point and thus missing what it is to live and work in God’s Kingdom. Could it be that the truth is somewhere in the middle?
It goes without saying that if we miss the point of Jesus’ Kingdom message we cannot understand how to live gospel-oriented Kingdom lives. However, the problem seems to hinge on understanding what Jesus meant when he spoke of God’s Kingdom. We invite you to join us starting Sunday, May 20th as we begin a journey of discovering what it means to proclaim the coming of God’s Kingdom so that we might learn what it means to live gospel-oriented, Kingdom lives in our present world.
A fellow traveler,
|May 20||Introduction||Mark 1.14-15|
|May 27||Kingdom Living||Matthew 22.34-40, Hebrews 10.19-25|
|June 3||Kingdom Growth|
|June 10||Kingdom and the Bullied|
|June 17||Kingdom and Black Lives Matter|
|June 24||Kingdom and a World at War|