I know something about a kingdom because I grew up in one. My Dad was a military officer and he was the king. It was the kingdom of Dad. Our task was to do what he said or pay the penalty if we chose not to. It was a good thing he loved me and my three siblings; though I do remember as a little boy throwing a temper tantrum and having him hold me upside down and shaking the tantrum out of me. It worked.
Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God. John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Messiah said that this soon to be introduced Christ would bring this Kingdom to the world.
What is the Kingdom of God, this idea that is so central to the Christian faith? and what it is to be a Disciple of Jesus Christ?
In the season of Christ’s coming there was the Kingdom of Rome, or the Roman Empire. The Caesar or Emperor was the ultimate authority in that Kingdom. This is the core idea that defines a Kingdom; who is the authority in it? It’s the King and what makes it a Kingdom is the people who submit to the authority of the King.
The Kingdom of God is about submitting to the authority of a loving God.
Jesus taught that we were to build our lives on a rock and not sand, promising that when the storms come we would remain standing and not be washed away. He then told us simply what this was, to build our lives on a rock, and I paraphrase, Jesus said “Do what I have told you”.
The Kingdom of God has two big parts, the King (God), and those who submit to the authority of the King. As Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don’t do what I say?”. (Luke)
The Kingdom of God is those who submit to the authority of Christ, “Jesus is Lord to the Glory of God the Father”. (Philippians) When we forgive, as Jesus commanded, when we remember the poor, as Jesus commanded, when we love God and our neighbor with all our heart, soul and mind, as Jesus commanded, when we give as we have received, as Jesus commanded, when we live out the teachings, example, and commands of Jesus Christ, we embody what the Kingdom of God is, obedience to the one God sent us to “Be the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. (John)
Now there is a difference between the Kingdom of Dad I grew up in and the Kingdom of God. I did not have much choice when it came to whether I would submit to my Dad’s authority or not, especially when I was a child. But when it comes to God, God lets us choose to participate in His kingdom, “Choose ye this day whom you shall serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the lord”. (Joshua)
The Kingdom of God since Jesus brought it to us has a leading edge that has and must guide the Church. In times the Church neglects this, things go bad. It is the directing command of Christ given after the resurrection and before the ascension, “Go make disciples of all nations”. Few things qualify the Kingdom of God more than Loving God and neighbor, and making disciples of Jesus Christ. Everybody needs Jesus!
God give us success! Psalm 118:25