What does the Kingdom of God look like? That is what I've been thinking about lately.
Is it here? Did Jesus establish it when he came?
Is it coming?
Do we have a bearing upon its fulfillment?
Below is the representational drawing from A New Kind of Christian by Brian Mclaren.
I began to think about this in all seriousness when I heard a quote from Rick McKinley of Imago Dei in Portland. He talks about the emperor Cult of that day and he reads the following quote found on an inscription:
All of that sounds familiar because it is the language regarding Christ of the New Testament.
The most divine Caesar we should consider equal to the
beginning of all things for when everything was falling into disorder and
towards dissolution he restored it once more and gave to the whole world a new
aura. Caesar the common good fortune of all the beginning of life and
Providence has sent us filled with strength for the
welfare of men and who being sent to us and our descendents as savior has put an
end to war and set all things in order and whereas become God Manifest among us
Caesar has fulfilled hopes of earlier times. This is the good news to the
whole world the beginning of the good news concerning him.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus washes the disciples feet. Peter gets mad. It sounds like Peter is speaking from a place of humility. But maybe he is speaking selfishly. Perhaps Peter is beginning to think he has signed on with a losing team. He thought he had been called to serve the neCaesarar. He is ready to go to battle for Christ in the garden and when Christ does not call down legions from heaven, Peter experiences a let down--to put it mildly.
Luke tells of the disciples arguing over who is the greatest at the Last Supper. Jesus tells them,
"The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority
over them call themselves BenefactorsButut you are not to be like
that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the
one who rules like the one who serves."
Judas is so angry after his feet are washed that he betrays Jesus. He wanted a Caesar, a king.
This morning I glimpsed the darkness and betrayal that the disciples felt. I also have this feeling that I need to examine how I serve, how I respond to others. I think this time in the Bible has some implications for me, but I'm still thinking about what those are.