The Kingdom of God
What does the “Kingdom of God” mean? I suspect all Christians would give a differing answer, for theories are plentiful. Some say that the kingdom of God was an entirely spiritual phenomenon. Verses such as Luke 17:21, with Jesus proclaiming that the kingdom of God is within you, indicates some kind of spiritual aspect to the kingdom. The spiritual phenomenon is almost always identified as salvation, and being born again. Another idea is that the kingdom of God is everything that belongs to God and will be answerable to him (such as people), and thus the kingdom is God (as the creator) looking over his created kingdom. Others take a more literal and concrete conception of the kingdom, and define it as the coming reign that God will over the earth (known as the “millennium”), following the tribulation that culminates in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
There is one last theory, which focuses more on the political and social circumstance of Christ’s sayings, and one that I believe is far more accurate and realistic. The
This is by no means a thorough study of what the phrase exactly means, but one specific passage stood out to me as revealing Christ’s conception of the kingdom. It is Luke 22:24-29:
24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.
29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
Here, the disciples are beginning to bickerover which will receive the highest honour in the new social order that Jesus was preaching. Jesus’ response was interesting, as he did not deny that he was seeking to bring about a new social order. Rather, the disciples were rebuked for misunderstanding the nature of the
Jesus himself proved to be the ultimate example of this. The most striking example is when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples with his hair. Found in John 13:1-20, Jesus, the lord of his disciples, showed complete humility and humbleness by serving his followers in this way. Peter’s reaction again demonstrated how the disciples did not understand that Christ’s kingdom was not a typical one based on traditional authority, but on self-sacrifice. As followers of Christ, we are supposed to emanate the