Chuck Foreman – Teaching Pastor
Hundreds of years before Jesus arrived on the Palestinian scene “preaching the good news of the kingdom,” (Matthew 4:23) there were clear expressions of a new and different kind of kingdom which God would bring about on earth, nor just for or among the Jews, but for outsiders (Gentiles) too. All our favorite Old Testament scriptures which show up every year at Christmas time were declarations of this coming kingdom. Isaiah makes it clear when he says, …and the government will be on his shoulders,” (Isaiah 9:6) that his kingdom (whoeverhe is) will not rest on the shoulders of its citizens, being a parasitic burden on them as are the kingdoms and governments of men. Rather, he will have “shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.” (Isaiah 9:4)
When Jesus began his ministry, he showed his Messiahship by healing the sick and delivering those in bondage to darkness. He was ushering in a new kingdom on earth among men and gave us glimpses of the restored world we all have to look forward to:
“Now the dwelling of God is with men,
and he will live with them.
They will be his people,
and God himself will be with them
and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.”
“No longer will there be any curse.”
Jesus taught us to eagerly anticipate this new kingdom, a way of existence for which we all know deep down we were intended and designed. And it’s even in the prayer he taught his disciples to pray:
“Our Father in heaven,
Holy is your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.”
Those who follow Jesus, the Messiah, are citizens of this new kingdom which has come, but is not yet fully realized. As we do the “good works prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10) and pray the prayer he taught us to pray— for his kingdom to be established on earth, our world becomes more and more of a mirror image of how things are in heaven. And we eagerly await the time when God will…
“…send the Christ, who has been appointed for you (us)—even Jesus.
He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything,
as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.”
And when he does finally return, won’t that be a very Merry Christmas? Even if it’s not in December!