Read Matthew 4:12-17
“When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali – to fulfil what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
‘Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.’
From that time on Jesus began to preach,
‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’”
The Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God was central and foundational to all of Jesus teaching and all of His ministry. The Kingdom is the key theme that runs through the entire Biblical Story.
This was not some geographical, nationalistic rule in which the king ruled with political and military might. The kingdom he was announcing was the establishment of His rule on earth. No longer would the kingdom of darkness be able to hold humanity in captivity and slavery. Jesus was announcing liberation. Jesus was announcing restoration. The renewal of all things.
The Kingdom of God has broken into the present. War has been declared. Jesus has come to invade and destroy the kingdom of darkness. There is an enemy that seeks to corrupt and destroy God’s creation. Jesus came to defeat satan and sin. And he did it. That is why we celebrate the beauty and the majesty of the cross and the resurrection at Easter.
The kingdom has broken in. “It is finished!”, Jesus shouted, but then why is there still disease and sickness, pain and suffering, death and sin? We live in the time between times. Between the inauguration and the consummation of the kingdom. We live in the presence of the future. The already and the not yet.
The already and the not yet.
“The theology of the Kingdom plays a unique and crucial role in the historical legacy of the Vineyard.” – Derek Morphew (See Why is the Kingdom important?)
“During the last ten years I have found myself teaching on the kingdom in conferences linked to the same movements in 16 countries and multiple languages. The perception of the leaders has been the same everywhere. We need to lay this foundation once again. The subject is so fundamental to scripture and to our spiritual genesis that we cannot allow a single generation, church or group of churches to miss it. I generally try to explain how crucial the kingdom is to this emerging tradition…” -Derek Morphew, Quoted by Luke Geraty
For an excellent series of teaching on The Kingdom see here.
Theologian Don Williams comments that when we pray, we ask for the future kingdom to break into the present world, rather calling down perfection from heaven.
Today, Pray, “Lord, your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”. What signs of the kingdom are you seeing? Where do you see the Kingdom coming?
How are you living in the tension now and not yet of the Kingdom? Refusing to embrace the triumphalism of the “now and already” and refusing to accept the defeatism of the “not yet”. For more on this see Morphew’s Breakthrough: Discovering the Kingdom