Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What’s all this Talk about a Kingdom Anyway?

In 2010 it’s hard to imagine what Jesus may have meant when He proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4.17) In fact these are the first words Christ offers publicly following His Baptism by John the Baptist and His temptation by the devil, so it is important that we have a better understanding what Christ meant by “kingdom” if His words will have any meaning for us.

In biblical times a kingdom was more than just a political designation. To be under a king meant more than just being under the authority of a king. It meant that the king was responsible for the good of the people in his kingdom. In times of danger, the king would protect his subjects be welcoming them within the walls of his castle (his own house) for their safety and then the king would lead his soldiers into battle against the enemy to defend his subjects. Kings were often “made” or declared on the battle field for this very reason. If a king was killed while defending his kingdom another could be raised up in his place and declared the new king and return victoriously to his castle.

This is the imagery we should dwell upon when we hear the declaration, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In other words, THE King, God Himself, has come to defend His people in their battle with the devil. WE have been welcomed into the protective walls of His House as He goes to battle with the devil to protect us from death.

One final point… It is this same imagery that makes the Jewish rejection of Christ more profound when they declare, “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19.15) In rejecting Christ as King they were rejecting God’s protection against all danger most especially the devil.

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