Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Bigger Picture

From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." . . .

Jesus went thoughout Galileee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people (Matt. 4:17, 23).

The Good News, as I remember hearing it--from my earliest years to now--has always been a message of personal reconciliation with God. What a different flavor Jesus' good news carried! It was an invitation to join a new order of things. A heavenly order. His kingdom.

. . . your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10).

Yes, those who believe on Jesus enter into a saving, sustaining, satisfying personal relationship with him--a very personal one, because he is a Shepherd-King. But the relationship is not primarily about "me and Jesus." A follower of Jesus is one of many citizens of his kingdom, one sheep in a large flock.

Does this viewpoint make a difference? Does it illuminate some scriptures that have been puzzling up to now? Are you unhappy about giving up the strictly personal understanding of the gospel? Or does the kingdom view make the "good news" even better news? In what way?