The Kingdom of Heaven
When the angel of the Lord appeared to the virgin girl Mary she hears these words: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32–33 ESV). Notice the words reign and forever. In Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah we see the words government, throne, and kingdom (see Isaiah 9:6–7). And when Jesus is born, wise men appear asking, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2 ESV). Two words here: king and worship.
Fast- forward. Jesus is now thirty years old. His cousin and good friend, John the Baptist, is in the wilderness of Judea preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2 ESV). What is this business about “the kingdom of heaven?” When Jesus was tempted by satan in the desert we see that satan thinks he is a rival to Jesus. In truth, Jesus has no rival. As Jesus leaves the desert He dives headlong into His public ministry preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17 ESV). And He sends out His disciples with the same assignment to proclaim the kingdom of God. The disciples discover there are three things that cannot stand in the kingdom of heaven: sin, demons, and sickness. They are incompatible with the kingdom of God. Such is the power of the kingdom.
Later when Jesus teaches His disciples to pray He begins by addressing the Father as Father, revering Him—or worshipping Him—and then inviting and desiring what He desires: His kingdom here on earth (see Matthew 6:9–15). Embedded in the words themselves is submission and yielding. Complete and absolute. Those who pray this way are rightly related to God, which is Jesus’ intention. Entrance into the kingdom of heaven is conditional upon doing the will of the Father. We know the kingdom of God has come when we see satan’s kingdom overcome. Demons are cast out. Sickness and disease are healed. And sin is forgiven.
We often communicate to the drowning and the dying that Jesus is our Savior, but we have neglected to tell those flailing in the water that the reason He alone is able to save is because He is Lord—of all. When we preach the gospel of the kingdom, yes we talk about being born again—how our sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus—but we also need to tell why. Because Jesus loves us, He disrobed, took off His crown, and took a swan dive out of the throne room to arrive here on a resuce mission so that He can restore mankind to a right relationship with the Father and join Him in His kingdom. The reason for unmerited salvation is not just to escape hell, but to give us one more chance to stand before the Father, point to the Son, and declare through the stratosphere, “Jesus is King of Kings and LORD of all!”
The King of all Kings, left His throne and came here. Why?
If Jesus is your “King,” how does this impact your relationship with Him?
What is ‘the gospel of the kingdom’? And how can you speak it?