Marks of The Kingdom
Here are the five marks of the Kingdom seen in Jesus.
The Kingdom of God was breaking into history. In Mark 1, Jesus says, “The time has come. Repent and believe the good news!” At last, what the Prophets spoke about was coming into the world. God was coming back to deal with the mess we had made of his creation. God’s story reaches its climax in Jesus. Jesus embodied God and showed what happens when Heaven comes to earth—healing and celebration just to name two. Repent and believe were not two different things, but the same. Turn from your ways and trust that God is in charge bringing about a new creation. God’s supreme reign and rule is fully realized over the transformed universe and in the hearts of all His redeemed people. The coming of Jesus sets in motion all that will produce The Kingdom’s actualization. Jesus is the Kingdom.
The Kingdom is a New Society. Jesus came to proclaim good news to the poor… to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18) That’s Jesus’ manifesto. If anyone, I don’t care who they are tells you that Jesus was about anything contrary they’re wrong and should be ignored. Jesus came that we might be liberated from the chains that bind and free us from evil to have eternal life. Jesus presents us with what we could never attain, without lifting a finger we are made free. We are home free already. Jesus came to invite us to a new way of life. Freedom, liberation, and recovery of sight are not just physical. We are imprisoned by our sins by all the ways we stop God’s love and grace from entering our lives. Our thinking that life is about us traps us. Life is not just about me. Life is communal. We were designed to be in relationship with one another. Others matter; what matters most is that we connect with one another. Recovery of sight is about healing, gracing, and saving now. It’s about all the ways that God enters our lives to bless us and through us bless others. The Lord’s favor is not about becoming religiously superior or financially well off and hording it over or from others. It is about living in and by God’s favor. We are blessed to be a blessing.
The Kingdom is a New Citizenship. In Luke 6, Jesus compares blessings with the woes showing us what it means to be in the Kingdom. Blessing is more than just being happy or at peace, it means that God’s favor rests on you even if it doesn’t seem that way now. Woe is for those who rely on their own achievement, they will reap disaster in the end. Jesus showed us both in word and deed what it means to live in the Kingdom of God. Jesus calls each of us to a new Citizenship. This can and should be lived out in our current life.
Jesus calls us to be different. We are not to look like the world, but like Jesus. The Kingdom of God, not of this world, is different and incompatible with how life is normally lived. We are to be a compelling force in the world for God’s love and grace not excluding but including not judging but serving not demanding but welcoming.
Jesus is the center of the Kingdom. Unlike most spiritual leaders, Jesus didn’t point away from himself, but to himself. Jesus’ very person and presence was heaven coming to earth. It is who is Jesus is not what Jesus did that saves. We are drawn to Jesus not just for the cross, but for how he lived his life. Jesus’ life is a concrete example of what a life lived in God looks like. Even people outside the church find Jesus’ life to a beautiful thing. His death and resurrection are important, but we cannot properly understand them without seeing his life as witnessed in the Gospels.