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Three of the four Gospels (biographies of Jesus in the Bible) put considerable emphasis on the idea of the “Kingdom of God” or the “Kingdom of Heaven.” Jesus speaks of it, and makes clear that
this is a very different way of running society.
The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is among you.
The fourth Gospel (“According to John”) avoids that kind of “kingdom” or implied governmental emphasis. In John’s Gospel the focus is relational – the relationship between humans and the Divine. The idea “believe” gets strong emphasis, and that is a matter of heart, of will, of purpose, of inter-personal commitment.
That idea of course is present in the other three, but it is instructive that in John’s account Jesus hardly mentions the idea of a power-based human society (like they all were living in one way or another) that is being restructured. The focus here is directly on
how we as persons relate to God,
and how we relate to other humans (each other)
in the light of the radically different system of values that Jesus practices, points out, and explains.
It’s the same radically “new world order”.
It can be referred to in different ways:
- Kingdom of God
- Kingdom of Heaven
- the Kingdom “among you”, powerful, though invisible in its structure and connections
- a totally new economy (deeply different ways of developing and managing resources and distributing the products of those resources)
- a new Temple for the worship of the Ultimate Goodness, a Temple not made of stones, gold, etc. but of human persons in interpersonal relationships, a Temple (worship) system that is beneficial to the whole human race
- The Beloved Community (Martin Luther King)
- Satyagraha, Ahimsa, and Savodarya (Gandhi)
Good list, eh? To believe in – or to realize and buy into – the idea that God is always at work developing
- the foundation (within human hearts)
- and the outworking (in human relationships)
of this radical new social reality really does put one into a different life context. It affects your thinking, your behavior, and before long your emotions.
God is always at work developing - the foundation (within human hearts) - and the outworking (in human relationships) of this radical new social realityClick To Tweet
The Kingdom of God has come near. – Jesus
My Father works, and I work. – Jesus
Thy Kingdom come. – Jesus
Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. – Jesus
The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed,
nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’
because the kingdom of God is among you. – Jesus
Four Basic Facts: (introductory post)
- There is Beauty All Around.
- Everything is Damaged.
- God Comes to Us In Costly Grace.
- God is Building His New Economy.