“I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, for that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43). “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed … (a Kingdom that) will endure forever” (Daniel 2:44).
“Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Take both phrases together. The second explains the first. As well as thinking of God’s Kingdom as the one and only Kingdom which will stand forever, we should think also in terms of the Lord ruling over our hearts and lives here-and-now. When Jesus preached the Good News of the Kingdom of God, He was not simply preaching a Kingdom which would come in the distant future. He was also calling upon His hearers to submit their hearts and lives to the rulre of God. This is still the Word of God to us today.This is the challenge of God’s Kingdom for us today. Here-and-now, God is calling us to submit to His rule by doing His will. When we pray, “Thy Kingdom come”, we must also pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The Story of Jesus is not only a story. It’s a story with a meaning. When we read the Story of Jesus, we do not only ask the question, “What is the story?” We also ask the next question, “What does the story mean?” We do not only ask, “What happened?” We also ask, “What is the meaning of the things that happened while Jesus was on earth?”
“I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God … that is why I was sent.” Here, we have Jesus’ answer to the question: “What is the meaning of Jesus’ life?”God is speaking to us when we read the Story of Jesus. God is speaking to us about His Kingdom. He is calling us to crown Him as the King of our life.
Let’s think about the Story of Jesus. What does it teach us about the Kingdom of God? In Luke 3, we read about John the Baptist, the man who prepared the way for our Lord Jesus Christ. John did not draw attention to himself. He pointed away from himself to Jesus. John was the servant of God. Jesus is the Son of God. The baptism of Jesus shows us how special Jesus was – “You are My Son whom I love; with You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). This is the first thing we must say about the Story of Jesus. It’s not only the story of what Jesus said and what Jesus did. It’s the story of who Jesus is. Jesus is much more than a mere man – even a great man. He is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16).
Following on from the baptism of Jesus, we read about His temptations in the wilderness. Satan refuses to submit to God’s rule. He refuses to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and King. He tries to draw Jesus from His pathway of obedience to the Father’s will. Satan fails in his evil purpose. In the wilderness, we see Jesus as Lord and King. He was Lord and King then. He is Lord and King now.
Jesus is our Lord and King. He comes from the wilderness to begin His ministry. It is a ministry of love and power. In His ministry, we see the power of love. We see Jesus as the King of love. In His words, we hear the voice of love. In His actions, we see His hand of love, touching people’s lives and changing them, making them better. He changed peoples’ lives then. He still changes them now.
When we read about Jesus, we are reading about events which happened a long time ago. We are also asking about our life here-and-now, “How can the love and power of Jesus Christ our Lord and King become real in our lives in today’s world?” When we pray, “Thy Kingdom come”, we are not only thinking of a future Kingdom which is still to come. We are praying, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are to pray, “Not my will but Thy will be done.” Jesus did the will of God. we are to do the will of God. Jesus lived in obedience to God. We are to live in obedience to God. The life of joyful obedience is, for us, a foretaste of the heavenly and eternal glory of God’s Kingdom. Our life on earth is to be like life in heaven. This is what Jesus meant when He taught us to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” “As it is in heaven” – These are very important words. They remind us that living the life of God’s Kingdom involves looking beyond or life here-and-now, as we catch a glimpse of the glory of God’s heavenly and eternal Kingdom.
Here on earth, we see kingdoms rising and falling. We see them in their power and glory. We see them going into decline, becoming a mere shadow of what they once were. While all of this is happening, God is building His Kingdom, His eternal Kingdom, the only Kingdom which will stand forever. In all the confusing events of international politics, we must never forget this – God has not abandoned His purpose of salvation. He is still building His eternal Kingdom which shall never be destroyed.
Jesus preached the Good News of God’s Kingdom. His Kingdom will come – but we must wait for it. We must wait patiently. We must keep on believing that God’s Kingdom will stand for ever. When all earth’s kings and queens, prime ministers and presidents have come and gone, there will be one King who remains – our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who is King of kings and Lord of lords. The message of Jesus still comes to us as the message of God’s Kingdom. Jesus made the Kingdom of God His highest priority and He calls us to make the Kingdom of God our highest priority: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
How are we to seek first God’s Kingdom? How are we to seek His righteousness? We must pray for more of the fear of the Lord. We must pray for more of the love of the Lord. The fear of God does not mean being afraid of God. It means loving God so much that we are afraid of hurting Him by sinning against Him. We pray, “Thy Kingdom come.” This is to be more than our hope for the future. It’s to be the dedication of our lives here-and-now. May God help us to crown Him as the King of our lives here-and-now.