“Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’” (Luke 10:9, NIV84)
One can’t seem to escape the reality that the “kingdom of God” is the core teaching of the New Testament. John the Baptist and Jesus both began their ministries proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand, and here the disciples got sent out to proclaim that very same message. We must face the reality that the New Testament Gospel proclaims to us that, in Jesus Christ, the kingdom of God is touching the earth and is changing it forever. People need to face the fact that although we live in this worldly kingdom that we can touch and experience, this is not all there is! As a matter of fact, the message of the New Testament is that this kingdom is drawing to a close while God’s kingdom will reign and exist forever.
As we live and exercise our Christian faith in this world, the goal is not to somehow fit the reality of the kingdom of God into the earthly kingdom, but rather to learn to live in the kingdom of heaven while we physically exist in this world. It’s not a blending of the two, but a letting go of the one (earthly) for the other (heavenly). You see, Christianity is more than an ideology. Faith doesn’t reach out into nothingness and find something to hold onto. There is a real heaven and a real earth. There are two kingdoms. Jesus came from the kingdom of heaven to the kingdom of earth to tell us that He alone can bridge the gap between the two. His death and resurrection assure us that the battle over our souls was won by Jesus. The King of the kingdom of heaven crushed the head of the king of this world. Today, we live in this earthly kingdom as strangers who await the coming of the kingdom of God.
Today, and always, may we live in the reality of the kingdom of God.