Your Kingdom Come on Earth
We live in a broken world, all you need to do is turn on your Tube and see the violence that is taking place all over the globe everyday. It seems like humanity is headed for complete destruction, nations are always fighting and bickering and trying to over power each other. While kids all over the planet are still starving to death (though the numbers have decreased), there are many countries without proper nutrition, water, medicine, etc. Scientist believe the earth will eventually die out and we will be destroyed by a star hitting the earth (Sound depressing?).
What does the Biblical story say in the face of all these terrible facts?
The questions that arises naturally are, "Where is God? Where is this kingdom on earth that Jesus talked about? Why are we still suffering?" Lets look at what Jesus taught his disciples to pray, but first lets talk about the context for his kingdom message. Jesus and the disciples grew up as Jews living in a Roman empire. Rome dominated everyone who opposed their way of life (crucifying traitors), lets just say they were not friendly. Jews had always believed that God would restore their land (Abraham, Moses, David, Prophets story), while granting them peace on earth (Shalom).
The Disciples along with most Jews during that time period would have been looking for a Messiah figure who would conquer their enemies (Rome, anyone outside of Israel) and give them their land back (just as David did in the Hebrew scriptures). When John the Baptizer came on the scene saying, "Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand," his hearers were thinking: "the kingdom is coming, Israel is being restored." Little did they know it was much bigger than their national hope. Jesus comes on the scene talking about the kingdom and using stories to convey His kingdom message (Parables) and giving Kingdom principles (see beatitudes). Everyone around him is hoping that he would deliver them from Rome and their opposing none Jewish neighbors by fighting them (Like David did with the 6 toe giants), everyone keeps trying to pigeon hole Jesus' kingdom message by questioning him and his authority (Pharisees, Sadducees).
Jesus said: "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 'Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 'Give us this day our daily bread." Jesus told His disciples (even us) to pray for God's rule and reign on earth as in Heaven. Could you imagine being in their shoes, you think someone would have said: "Jesus, have you see Rome lately? Bro, they are crucifying people and hurting everyone, are you aware of that?" Jesus taught the kingdom message in the midst of a hurting and broken world no different than our world now. It's easy to lose focus on "God's kingdom reign coming to earth as in Heaven" because of all the chaos that exist in this fragile world. Most of the time it seems like His kingdom is wishful thinking, or just chasing after the wind.
In our American popular church culture we have often been told: "God is going to rapture us out, there is no need to worry about this world, I am just passing through" (although not all dispensationlist hold to this popular view). Here is the problem with this thinking, it smacks Jesus' teaching in the face. Jesus taught that God's rule was to come on earth as in heaven, Jesus healed people in this world showing the kingdom has come, Jesus died a bloody death not so that we could escape this world, but so that the world would be changed and renewed (See Romans 8).
God's plan has always been to renew that which was lost in the garden. His plan was never to forsake this earth or the people on it (though at times he wanted to destroy it, like in Noah's story). God has always been committed to renewing His creation and putting humans as His image/representatives on earth. Israel had a small view of God's global purposes, you can't blame them, we all still have small views of God's global purposes. In America, we pride ourselves on being American (though I am thankful for this country), and in other countries they pride themselves on the same nationalistic identities. Jesus offers us a fresh and much larger picture, this picture consists of all countries and people groups in the same kingdom.
What would it look like if we as Christians started taking Jesus' kingdom message more seriously? How would this impact our neighbors around us? These are things I think about on a weekly basis. God's kingdom consists of being forgiven and the forgiver, being loving towards your enemies, breaking down ethnic biases, cleaning our dirty rotten selves, living completely different than the selfish greedy behaviors that exist within us and around us.
Where is this kingdom? The kingdom is here when you give the naked clothes, the kingdom is here when you feed the hungry and protect the orphan, the kingdom is here when you care for the sick, the kingdom is here when you spend your money wisely, the kingdom is here when you love and shepherd your children and wife, the kingdom is here when you treat those who mistreat you with love and dignity. The kingdom is here when you give others hope who are hopeless, the kingdom is here when people see Jesus as savior and redeemer. The kingdom is here when you give a listening ear to others, the kingdom is here when you confess your weaknesses and failures. May God's kingdom come then on earth as it is in heaven, may this be our prayer, because heaven sounds good, could you imagine heaven touching earth, close your eyes and imagine the whole creation renewed, this will be heaven.
- Casey Dayton