Now in the midst of Jesus revolutionary message about a new kind of kingdom, he also brings a message to his own people. The people of God, the people of Israel, the Jews. If Jesus’ political message was about a kingdom that will rule forever, then his message to the Jews was about a kingdom that was here and now.
Jesus begins the proclamation of his ministry by stating: “The kingdom is at hand.” This is a much more revolutionary statement than you might think at first glance. For us, we read the the statement and we say yes, Jesus has brought the kingdom to us. But to a Jew this would mean something entirely different. It would have been a statement that would have caused “Spiritual Vertigo”!
To understand this you first must see Jesus like a Jew of the time would have seen him. To the Jewish people, Jesus was no more than a great prophet. He spoke like a prophet and he acted like a prophet. Jesus stood up for the poor and oppressed. Jesus preached against those who would take advantage of the weak and outcast. He talked about making our insides clean so that it showed on the outside. He cast images of a time when the world would be judged based on their hypocrisy and the injustices they created. But Jesus was much more than a prophet. He also brought a message of a new world. A world that was possible HERE and NOW!
“Here and now!” In that statement lies the intense, revolutionary message of Jesus. To the Jewish listener, they would not have been shocked of Jesus’ talk of another kingdom, but rather a kingdom that is available to them now. For the Jews, certain things had to be in place for the coming of the new kingdom. Governments needed to be overthrown, the messiah needed to lead a revolt, people needed to be purged of their sins (be made perfect). Many things needed to happen first before the kingdom could come. So to the Jew the kingdom would come later. But Jesus’ message talks of a kingdom that is tangible, it can be grasped. He paints a picture for the Jews of what could be now, not later. It was a message that challenged the status quo of the Jewish nation and asked them to re-envision a kingdom that is active and moving now; and they could be a part of it.
Growing up I heard only talk of the “Kingdom of God” as a term meant for heaven. Anytime someone talked about the kingdom, as mentioned by Jesus in the gospels, it was something to come later, something we would achieve one day…way off!
But here is Jesus saying the kingdom is here and now! You can have it. It’s yours for the taking. And in this kingdom you have the power to do “even more amazing things than these.” I feel like we spend too much of our lives worrying about the heaven to come, instead of moving forward in the kingdom we have here and now. We worry about the afterlife, never thinking that we can bring heaven down to earth now. We miss out on so many opportunities that God has in store for us, by not believing that we have the power of the kingdom of God right now, today!
But I’m getting a little head of myself. Before I can tell you about how God’s life can completely change you, I first need to share with you how God has changed me. So if you will allow me, my next blog I would like to share with you the way that Jesus sent me down a dizzy path and completely reshaped who I am today. Then maybe you can see how Jesus is doing the same thing in your life.
May we stop thinking about the future and start focusing on the here and now! May we believe we have the power of God at our disposal and truly live in a kingdom that is at hand, that’s here and now!
2 thoughts on “Spiritual Vertigo: Jesus vs. Jew”
Thought provoking message bro! Just imagine the mental & spiritual battle going on inside each & every Jew of those years!!
Exactly! It goes against everything they thought they knew, but lead them to something greater. It’s the same with what Jesus does to and in us!