WHAT JESUS ACTUALLY MEANT WHEN HE SAID: "MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD"
By Silverio Gonzalez - Posted at Core Christianity:
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”—Matthew 28:16–20
Jesus taught his disciples to pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). This prayer asks God to act. It pleads with God to enter into our circumstances and to bring about his good rule over our lives and the lives of the people we call our enemies. It seeks the will of God. It hopes for the day when God would end war, bring good news to the poor, bind the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, bring justice to the oppressed, comfort those who mourn, create a new heavens and a new earth, and gather all the nations to worship him (Isa 2:4; 60:1–2; 66:22–23).
Jesus’ prayer guides us through a world where heaven and earth can seem really far apart. Wars are still fought. The poor still experience injustice. The broken-hearted still suffer. People are still captive to sin, death, the devil, and the abusive social structures that allow sinful hearts to exploit the weak. Communities still mourn. And the people that God has gathered to worship him are few. In all this, God can seem distant and uninvolved, but when we pray we remind ourselves that God is involved in the world. This prayer asks God to do what he already desires—that his glory would fill the whole world. Jesus knew that this is exactly what we need to pray.
Despite what we see, the Bible tells us the true story about what God is up to in the world. It tells us that Jesus reigns, that death is a defeated foe, that sin is being subdued, that the hearts of the broken hearted are being bound up, that the poor are hearing the good news, that justice is coming to the oppressed, that communities who mourn are being comforted, that the new heavens and new earth are being created, that God is gathering a mass of people from every nation to worship him. Here I want to explain three truths the Bible teaches about Jesus’ current reign.