Many strive to become great today. It may be in knowledge, sports, career, politics, or wealth—many strive for greatness. There is nothing wrong with striving to become the best that you can be. Hard work is always honorable, and it is oftentimes rewarded with success, including the monetary gains that come with it.
Citizens of God's Kingdom, which Jesus is currently ruling over, do not strive for greatness in the Kingdom. They simply obey Jesus and His Word as they follow Him.
In my book, The Kingdom According to Jesus, I write about how Jesus revealed His Kingdom through His words and actions. The Kingdom revealed by Christ includes love, grace, peace, and life with race equality, gender equality, health equality, and economic equality for all. Citizens of the Kingdom make it known today through their words and actions. They are totally obedient to Jesus. They do not strive to become great in the Kingdom. They are called great because of their obedience.
Beloved, obey Jesus. He came, fulfilling the Law, establishing His Kingdom. As you follow Him with your whole heart, continuing His point-of-need ministry, you will be called great in His Kingdom.
Jesus said: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:17-19 ESV).
Jesus, I thank you for coming to this earth and fulfilling the Law. I have accepted your grace and answered the call to follow you, allowing you to lead me on this journey from earth to glory. Help me today keep my eyes fixed on you, revealing your Kingdom through my words and actions. Show me ways today that you would have me serve you. Emulate your love, grace, and peace to others through me today. I pray this in your precious name. Amen.
The good news of God calls all people, regardless of race, to obedience that comes by faith. Concerning Jesus, Paul says, ”through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:5-7 ESV) “
Sad to say today, people discriminate. You find discrimination all around you. It’s in the work place. It’s in school. It’s even in churches and denominations. A big issue right now in America is immigration. You may have very strong feelings on immigration. Let me share a perspective with you that you may not have thought about. America was founded as a Christian nation or a “good news of God” nation. God has made it possible for people of all races to come to America to have opportunity to hear about God’s good news and to see it lived out by example. They think they are coming for a better life. God is bringing them and placing them next to you in the work place, in the school house, in the market place and in your neighborhood so that you can share the good news of God with them through your actions and through your words.
May we never close down a door of opportunity that God has given us. May we constantly be reminded by the Holy Spirit that there will be those from all nations around the throne of God, worshipping Him for all eternity. It’s a dream that Martin Luther King had that has now become a reality to him around God’s throne. Let’s pray and live as Jesus taught: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Many years ago as a child in church camp, I was taught a song that I have never forgotten. It goes like this:
Father Abraham had many sons
Many sons had father Abraham
I am one
So are you
So let's just praise the Lord!
Many think today that God only blesses one nation.
In my country, America, you always hear people say "God Bless America."
Some believe that Jesus is returning for one physical nation.
Some believe that Jesus is returning for a physical piece of land in the middle east.
Check out what God promised Abraham:
Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. (Genesis 17:4-5 ESV)
According to the Bible, God is for all nations.
God's heart is that none should parish, but that all have everlasting life through His son, Jesus Christ.
Color of skin does not matter to God.
Language does not matter to God.
Gender does not matter to God.
Economic status does not matter to God.
Physical location does not matter to God.
Jesus is not returning for one physical nation.
Jesus is not returning for a piece of land in the middle east.
Jesus is returning for His faithful followers who have denied self and taken up the cross.
Jesus' return is the consummation of His Kingdom here on earth that is already within His followers and He is ruling over it.
His Kingdom is full of love, grace and peace with race, gender, economic, and health equality for all.
His kingdom already consists of people from all nations.
Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your bed and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--he said to the paralytic-- "I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home." And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
(Mark 2:6-12 ESV)
Jesus’ message of the Kingdom and demonstration of it was attracting large crowds of people, including the religionists of His day. We can’t help but notice that the religionists had seats in the crowded house and did not give them up for those who were in obvious need, such as this paralytic. Could this mimic our houses of worship today? Are the needy being taken care of or are they being crowded out?
May we in our day take note that Jesus treated all people equal.
And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." (Mark 2:1-5 ESV)
Mark is very explicit in pointing out that Jesus was there “preaching the word.” Taking care of people’s needs was important, but preaching the word was priority in Jesus’ life and ministry. The “word” that Jesus preached is defined in Mark 1:14-15 which reads “… Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. (ESV)"
Needs being met attracted the crowds, but Jesus constantly brings attention back to the preaching of the Kingdom which is His priority. Near the conclusion of chapter one Jesus tells His followers "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out. (Mark 1:38 ESV)”
In the kingdom that Jesus is ruling over there is love, grace, peace and freedom with race, gender, health and economic equality for all. That message must take priority over all else in our day. Taking care of the needs of people is vital and is to be the result of preaching Christ and His Kingdom which must be priority. Actions must follow words. The result will be a realization of the Kingdom and participation in it.
More to come tomorrow... Your comments are encouraged!
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