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Chris (email link at the bottom of each page)

The Kingdom

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Philemon 7–20 • Psalm 145(146):7–10 • Luke 17:20–25

Sunrise over mountain and clouds

http://endtimestruth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Sun-and-Clouds-Images-of-the-Kingdom-Dollarphotoclub.jpg

A key ingredient of Jesus’ teaching is that the kingdom of God is within us. Expounding this truth, Paul taught that the kingdom of God is not a matter of rules and regulations but ultimately of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (see Rom. 14:17). St Anthony of Egypt said: “There is no point in us travelling to find the kingdom of heaven, or crossing the sea in search of virtue. As the Lord has already told us, God’s kingdom is within you.”

Jesus turned the idea of the kingdom of God on its head. The Jewish people were expecting a political Messiah who would overthrow their Roman oppressors and re-establish the Davidic dynasty They rejected Jesus because he did not measure up to these expectations. The kingdom of God was breaking into their world but they were too preoccupied with their own notions and ideas of the kingdom to recognise it.

The kingdom of God, manifested in Jesus, is first and foremost a spiritual reality rather than something of this world (vv. 20-21;John 18:36). The kingdom is not a place or a way of life but a person. Jesus is the kingdom and the kingdom is Jesus. Where Jesus is, there is the kingdom. As the Scripture scholar Origen once said: “The gospel of Jesus is autobasilea, the kingdom himself.”

Reflecting on the words contained in the Our Father, the great saint and Church father Cyprian of Carthage wrote, “ ‘Thy kingdom come’ . . . Christ himself is the kingdom of God, whom we day by day desire to come, whose advent we crave to be quickly manifested to us. For Since he himself is the resurrection, because in him we rise again, so also the kingdom of God may be understood to be himself, because in him we shall reign.” The closer we are then to Jesus, the closer we are to the kingdom of God. And the closer we are to Jesus, the more we wıll pray for his return to earth, because those who love long to see the beloved, the One they love.

We manifest the kingdom of God to the world by showing that we know Jesus. How do we show this? By our witness of peace, love, joy and righteousness in the power and grace of the Holy Spirit.

“Let the proud seek and love earthly kingdoms, but blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ( St Augustine)

Chris 

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