Whose Kingdom are you modelling?
I have not written a blog in months owing to other demands of life. When I was in college, I always thought to myself, when I graduate, I will have all the time in the world to study, and do ministry because I will not have to write research papers, do assignments, prepare for exams, learn more languages and the lists go on. It worked well for few months, then I began a graduate program. Again, I said as soon as I complete my graduate program life will be easier because I will not have to take four courses a semester, read five or more required text books for each course, read 15 or more recommended books for research, exegesis, and hermeneutics (and if you are a nerd like one of my classmates and friend by the name of Mike Mercier, you will read more than twenty books for a research paper and God forbid you scores 99.99% on a test, legs would be broken and heads roll lol..). Here I am, more than a decade later, I am still struggling to find time to write a blog. I have also discovered that this dilemma is not unique to this writer because this writer did extend guest blogger invitations to friends and only one person responded. I have pondered on a lot of likely possibilities that could lead to this scarcity of time and high daily demands of life but could not come up with the right response. Could it be that we are modelling God’s kingdom, (which God’s people are called to copartner with Jesus to build) after the kingdom of the world? Then I looked at Jesus’s ministry. He had a very busy schedule. Anyone who knows a little about the culture in which Jesus did ministry can attest to this. He would hold all day teaching events, healing ministry galore, and as if these were not enough, instead of sending them back to their homes late at night, he will feed thousands of people who were fascinated by his uncommon wisdom and followed him all day. He will also make out time for self-care, which for him was solitude and a time with his father, whose kingdom he came to introduce. As I read about his ministry, I discovered that Jesus possessed what today is clinically known as self-awareness. He was not confused about his identity. He knew who he was. He knew his mission and knew how best to accomplish it. He chose his topics and teaching specifically for each audience. He was fun loving also. Who said you can’t have fun being a Christian? It seems to me that Jesus also liked to party, just like any Jew of his time. You may have a strong aversion to wine, but Jesus seemed to know a little bit about booze, after all he made everything. Was Jesus’ ministerial success as a result of his lack of concern with the solution of worldly problems? Dietrich Bonhoeffer says that Jesus’ word is not an answer to human questions and problem, rather the answer of God to the question of God to man. Jesus’ word is not a solution but a redemption. Jesus’ sole ministerial intent and mission was to introduce the kingdom of God to the world under the control of Satan. I know that this may sound strange to some because we live in a nation that proclaims freedom for all, and has a strong aversion to control, but the cosmos including the United States is under the kingdom of this world, which the evil one controls. In Luke 4: 5-7, Jesus was asked by Satan to worship him in return for the kingdom of the world. Jesus obviously was not enthused by Satan’s offer and would not worship a created being, but Jesus did not dispute Satan’s claim that all the kingdom of the world has been given to him. See 1 John 5:19; Rev 18:23; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11, if you would like to study more on Satan’s claim concerning the kingdom of the world. The good news is that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. When Jesus was asked by Pilate who seemingly had the power to free Jesus, when he was arraigned before him, made it clear that his kingdom is not of this world. In my recent sermon, I preached about a counter Cultural God with a counter cultural kingdom. I believe that one of the reasons why our progress in establishing the kingdom of God is stunted is because we are modeling it after the kingdom of the world. Because Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world our approach to building it will differ from that of the worldly kingdom. I look at the daily demands of life, justifiable as they may be, and wonder if I am modelling my ministry after Jesus.’ I wonder if I am modelling building God’s kingdom after that of the world by having to please everyone at the expense of my solitude and personal time with God. I wonder if my ministry and my pursuits are reflective of the One whose kingdom building style we are called to imitate. This just a food for thought. In my follow up post, I will discuss the contrast of the two kingdoms. I will also help anyone who reads this blog recognize that there is a strong demonic presence polluting all forms of the kingdom of this world and how it has affected how Christians view earthly governments.
Shalom from Oxford!