Sunday, December 29, 2013
What Begins with His Birth
Rev. 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord
and of his Messiah,
and he will reign forever and ever.”
We continue to celebrate the birth of the Messiah and the ushering in of the Kingdom of God. However, not until we reach the book of Revelation do we see the completion of this Kingdom. What begins with his birth is a new Kingdom, one which functions and rules from the basis of a God of holy love. All of this is in complete opposition to the kingdoms of this world. We are privileged to live in the “already” of that Kingdom. The Kingdom has come, the Prince of Peace has arrived and yet the battle continues to rage until this final moment when the seventh angel will blow the trumpet and there will be excited shouts in heaven that the earthly kingdoms have come to an end, or have become a part of the Kingdom of our Lord! This is the trajectory toward which all of life is headed and the Messiah’s reign — Christ’s reign — will be “forever and ever.”
What begins with the birth of the Messiah is something more exciting than all of humanity could have ever imagined! The new Kingdom! God’s Kingdom was brought to earth and this new kingdom rule was begun. We are not supposed to be bystanders to this kingdom, but we are to become citizens, participants, and children of that kingdom. God’s intention is that we already move from the kingdoms of the world into his Kingdom.
We have had a great time celebrating the birth, the arrival of the Messiah this week and yet, have we been willing to accept all that came with him, or have we simply stood on the sidelines cheering on his birth? There is more to Christmas than simply celebrating the Messiah by giving gifts to one another. Jesus arrived but what began with his birth was a whole new world, a new way of living and seeing and being. Not only are we called to accept Jesus as the Messiah, we are called to step into the new kingdom and become active participants in that kingdom in the here and now.
Earthly kingdoms have their appeal and if we were honest we might say that we are drawn to them. They have money and power and wield control over many issues of life. When things seem out of control we may be seeking for ways to bring order to the chaos and we may compromise with the kingdoms of the world for this to happen. Jesus’ kingdom doesn’t necessarily make everything in life neat and easy. No, as the expansion of God’s Kingdom continues to do battle with the world’s kingdoms there will be tensions and struggles and there may be times when we feel as if we are caught in the very middle of it all. The promise of the kingdom was not an easy life, just take a look at the beatitudes:
Matt. 5:3 ¶ “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matt. 5:4 ¶ “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matt. 5:5 ¶ “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Matt. 5:6 ¶ “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Matt. 5:7 ¶ “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Matt. 5:8 ¶ “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Matt. 5:9 ¶ “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Matt. 5:10 ¶ “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matt. 5:11 ¶ “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Matt. 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
This was to be life in the kingdom and this is what began with the birth of Christ. We are somewhere between his birth and the seventh trumpet. Yes, there is great tension and as Kingdom citizens we will be persecuted, and reviled but great is our reward in heaven. The Kingdom has begun and will continue until it comes to completion and the world’s kingdoms will fade away and all that will be left is the Kingdom that was ushered in on that first Christmas morning. Where are you going to live — in the world’s kingdoms, or in His?
Lord, may you continually lead me to live in your kingdom. Amen.