“The Kingdom Values”
What comes to mind when you hear the word “kingdom”? Perhaps, you think of a country, a geographical location, royalty or grandeur. Now, what comes to mind when you hear the kingdom of God? Probably you’re thinking of a place, a heavenly zone but still a “place” with defined parameters. May be a place we can’t see now, but hope to realize hereafter.
In Matthew it says, “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe.” But I like the way the writer of Luke puts it. Luke 11:20 says, “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you. In Luke 17:20-21, it writes, “Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
For Luke, the kingdom is already realized here and now. For him the kingdom of God does not appear with visible or material tokens, because it is within or inside a person or among the people. In other words, for Luke, Jesus is the kingdom of God. Jesus personifies the reign of God. The kingdom of God is not a place or a region, but a reign or dominion. Wherever God rules there is the kingdom of God. So when Jesus says, “Follow me,” he is saying, “Come and be a part of the kingdom.” In the gospels, the kingdom of God is not only a future reality. It is present – NOW – and will be fully revealed in the future. We see this tension throughout the Bible – “now” and “not yet.”
I’d like to focus on the values of the kingdom of God, and I must say that the values of the world are different from the values of the kingdom of God. Jesus often used paradoxes to teach the values of the kingdom of God. At one time he said, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14). The world will ask you, “How many people serve you? What are your achievements? How wealthy are you?” But Jesus understands greatness the opposite. Jesus asks us, “How many people have you served?”
Tezenlo Thong, Pastor
Simpson United Methodist Church