WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT JESUS MATTERS.
Jesus wasn't American, Republican or Evangelical for that matter. He was a Jew and their king. In our fast paced society, monarchies seem like simply fairy tales because the values and functions of life represented don’t connect in modern times. Obviously we know that these "fairy tales" actually reflect the state of much of recorded history. During the time of scripture being written, this was the structure of society - Kings and Kingdoms. As we read the New Testament, Jesus uses this language heavily to describe His purpose and function in the earth. Phrases like “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” are spoken of well over 100 times. Why is this important? The kingdom of God represented an entrance strategy of the culture of heaven being revealed in this life. Many people simply get it wrong. They get the nature of God wrong, the context of Jesus’ words, and the purpose of why we’re all here interacting with the kindest being that has ever existed. If we’re to walk in understanding of who Jesus was and how to exemplify him today, we must understand the environment, atmosphere and cultural dynamics of the King and His kingdom.
The Bible Wasn’t Written To You
It’s important to know that Jesus saw Himself as a king. It’s important to know that all of Israel longed for a king that would lead them to prominence and out of tyrannical control. The concept of a “good king” was something they had seen successfully demonstrated in only short stints as a nation, while most of their existence was found in idolatrous kings or in slavery to other empires. This makes the message of the scriptures a challenge for us to understand. I love Brian Zahnd’s commentary on the fact that the bible wasn’t written to our current society or western civilization. It was written to a group of people hardly established as a nation with their common history wrapped in more despair than hope. The bible was written to slaves. If there’s a people group we can identify with in scripture it’s the Roman Empire. As a nation, the US is a “super power” that dictates much of the values and guidelines of the world, just like Rome did in that time. Hard to understand where a writer is coming from if you’ve never been in the writer’s shoes or in the shoes of the writer’s audience. What I’m saying is that if you are an American or a citizen of democratic nation with modern trappings it’s gonna be hard to relate with scripture. The “what” of scripture seems moderately accessible, it’s the all elusive and subjective “why” that seems to get us lost in translation. Why does Jesus coming as a king matter?
The King Was The Sign Of Hope
Jesus, while not received by some, was the great hope of Israel. Seeing Jesus as a king in the context of what kings were in their day allows us to understand the great hope He represented, not simply a desire to exert authority over slaves. Finally the king they hoped for since the days of King Saul over 1000 years ago was here. The Israelites were looking for the man Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied about. He was the hope that the law would be satisfied and they could rise up as a great nation. (Today Jewish wealth represents 30% of the global economy while only commanding 1% of the global population, I’d say they’ve prospered in the last 2000 years) Jesus’ legitimacy as their true king and savior was measured not in His teachings, self proclamation or even His miracles. The be the great king of Israel, He would have to defeat death. His defeat of death sealed His authority over all darkness becoming the prime example of what God’s love and authority in action looks like. Egyptian roots to authoring the role of king in society always attached a deity to the role. Many of them professed everlasting life and control of the earth. None of them defeated death. The hope He represented wasn’t just for the Jews but for all mankind. Jesus gave himself to death because of love FOR us, His resurrection legitimized His love moving THROUGH us. He demonstrated a more excellent way that was greater than any king in history had shown. Jesus was modeling how to govern the heart through unconditionallove and relentless hope. His defeat of death solidified that He truly was the King of kings and His unique message was the restoration of all things. If you were an Israelite of that day, your mind was blown at what He proposed through His example. Ruling through peace and not war wasn’t exactly what they had in mind.
On Earth As It Is In Heaven
In the most revered prayer in the history of mankind, there’s the phrase “your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Wrapping our minds around the kingdom of God coming to earth in our post modern society presents it’s challenges. We’ve never lived in the age of kings, we’ve never needed rescue from a dominant empire (Americans are the dominant empire of today) or known what it was like for a whole kingdom to invade another kingdom. This phrase isn’t proposing war. The King is a person and His kingdom coming to earth is His dominion being exercised. Our greatest purpose has been to have dominion on the earth while “being fruitful and multiplying” in every thing we do. The kingdom coming to earth is not about a new dictator controlling everyone, but creating a new way of life established thru a a culture. Culture is created when a group of people share common values as a way of life. Much of society’s culture is shifting today with the rise of social activism, the break down of corporate America, big government and of course the family unit being not intact. Jesus came with a desire to influence, serve and bring peace. He was the king with a donkey, not a white horse and army. (That part comes later) Yet He came with radical power and authority. Jesus was the perfect picture of the kingdom of God coming to earth. It was power through love and authority through surrender. One person can influence but a group can change the culture as early adopters of new values in action. We are called to shift the culture of earth to look like heaven by adapting our Father’s value system and living it out.
We Were Made In His Image
“His Image” was the name of the first Youth Group I was ever apart of. I didn’t realize that even at that age my identity was being shaped to believe that I could be just like my heavenly Father. Dualism wants to suggest that all things spiritual happen outside of the earthly realm, but the truth about Jesus is that He was fully God and fully man. He was a picture of what we were to expect for ourselves. A people that with Christ dwelling in us could begin to shift the way people live and ultimately what they believe about eternity. We were made in His Image and likeness. Not being like Jesus in our current state demands many questions. Do I believe Jesus is truly a king? Is He in charge? Do we believe in Jesus’ ministry? Do we believe He actually resurrected? Do we believe He defeated sin and death? Do we believe He was the first born among many brethren? Do we believe we were made to be like Him? Do we believe that all things continue to be possible thru Christ? What we believe about Jesus matters. It helps to shape the purpose of why we exist, how to live and how to treat other people. The kingdom isn’t going to invade by imposition. It’s a movement of believers deciding to believe in the full capacity of creation and demonstrate the culture of the kingdom in THIS life just like Jesus did.
To Deny The Impossible Is To Declare Self Rule
I’ve been labeled a seeker of signs and wonders, leading people only to the hand of God. If His face is the goal and you found the hand, Bill Johnson says just look up because you’re really close. Cessationists want the wonder of God to be limited to what we read (embracing Father, Son and Holy Scriptures as their trinity) but to deny God’s power is to declare self rule. The King’s rule and decree demands His will be honored and in motion.The King’s will is executed by His rulers, which is those made in His image. A “believer” lives out what they believe. Simply put, if your life doesn’t demonstrate what possible under the King’s rule, maybe you don’t actually believe you are called to rule on the earth as ambassadors of Jesus‘ ministry in reconciliation. What does the reconciliation of people to the Father look like? What does “Your will be done” look like in action in this context? The answer to this question is your greatest responsibility. Reconciliation will be produced out of radical unconditional love. That love is expressed when we as “believers” actually believe in the full potential of a love that can win the world. Compassion, love, hope, faith in action produce the greatest transformation you can witness. When the King’s will or “on earth as it is in heaven” is in action the blind see, the poor are fed, cancer is erased, wrong things are made right and the world is restored to it’s maker. If signs and wonders aren’t apart of our life, we’ve believed a lie. The lie that our ministry looks nothing like Jesus. This is the greatest agenda of darkness and it currently has a stronghold of the church.
Faith Isn’t Needed For The Possible, But The Impossible
So who’s decree will you implement? The decree of the king? Or you own ideas that reject who God says you are and what your purpose is on earth? While it’s comfortable to explain situations from a distance or approve through observation, that’s not faith, that’s voyeurism. Faith was given for the impossible, not for the possible. Your identity empowers you to not just be saved from your past or guarantee paradise someday, but to live out a dynamic life of purpose and transformation in THIS life. This life doesn’t matter if we’re just trying to get out of here, but the kingdom of God is an entrance strategy not an exit strategy. Believing in who God says I am doesn’t just let me feel loved or for the grace crowd - be free. It empowers me to look, act, think, see and be motivated as my Father in Heaven just as Jesus did. Remember, faith without works is dead. When I believe and live this way, the will of the Father is being executed and Heaven is being realized in this life. Heaven is designed to come to earth through you. It’s time to dwell with understanding and action. All Hail King Jesus.