State of the Kingdom
Next week, President Trump will share the “State of the Union” address with the American people. With all that’s going on in Washington D.C., many people are wondering what will the president say? After the speech, political pundits will dissect every word and try to interpret how the speech supports their own political interests.
Jesus gives His own “State of Kingdom” address in what we call “The Beatitudes” (the blessings) in the Gospel of Matthew. I am happy to report that contrary to many opinions, the “Kingdom of Heaven” is solid and strong! The Kingdom of Heaven is enduring in unexpected and surprising ways. In the beatitudes, the King himself, Jesus tells us the reality of how things really are! Contrary to how the opposition may be “spinning the truth”, Jesus shares the truth of how things really are. How can we be so confident? Because the Son of God IS the creator of the universe!
However, Jesus’ words may catch us off guard because each one of us has been taken in by the deceit of the world. Jesus declares that the “poor in spirit” are blessed because the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs today! Conversely, the world tells us that we are “lucky” if we are rich because the one with the most stuff “wins!” Jesus blesses all who mourn and promises to comfort us. But enemy propaganda is still trying to convince us that it’s better to have no worries and no pain because then you’ll be comfortable.
Every blessing that Jesus offers is subverted by a counterclaim by the other side (the Devil, the world and our own sinful nature). Blessed to be meek? No way! The world says that you need to be smart, aggressive and self-promoting, then you’ll get your fair share. The Devil would say that you’re “wise” if you compromise with evil, that’s how the world works. We buy into the lie that we’ll be “happy” if you can become more powerful because then you will not be taken advantage of and you will be the “winner!”
But Jesus’ wisdom is countercultural. Jesus’ kingdom is entirely different. Instead of “clawing His way to the top”, Jesus stooped down to save us. Jesus gives grace instead of grabbing glory. Jesus’ wisdom looks like foolishness to clever people. Jesus’ sign of victory is the cross. His sign of power (the cross) looks weak. The cross looks like defeat, but it’s actually the source of our victory!
Jesus turns the wisdom of the world upside-down! Actually in the victory of His resurrection, Jesus is recreating the world the way it was originally designed. We thank God for restoring us as His children through Jesus Christ! “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God!” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Living in His love!
Posted January 30, 2020