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Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Messiah Monday | 0 comments

Promised Fulfilled

Promised Fulfilled

*Messiah Monday* — Why was Jesus so focused on proclaiming that the Kingdom of GOD had arrived on earth, and why did He link it to His ministry of physical healing and spiritual freedom?  Jesus did this because everyone expected the Messiah to bring GOD’s Kingdom to earth.   Some theologians have completely missed this point, thinking that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah.  But Jesus’ audience would have immediately recognized what He was saying – that he was making the shocking claim to the fulfillment of GOD’s great promises.  Jesus used a Jewish way of saying that He was the Christ, the Anointed King that GOD had promised.   From the very beginning, in Genesis, GOD had promised to anoint a king from the people of Israel to reign over the whole world (Genesis 49: 10).  Isaiah 9: 6 – 7 shows us more of who Jesus was and is today even though He is not yet reigning in His full glory.  He is the Mighty GOD...

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Posted by on Oct 14, 2013 in Messiah Monday | 0 comments

Stepping In, Taking Charge

Stepping In, Taking Charge

*Messiah Monday* — What exactly does it mean to say that GOD’s “Kingdom” had arrived in Jesus’ ministry?  It means that through Jesus, GOD was revealing His sovereignty.  He was stepping into history and taking charge, defeating the gods of this world through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son.   Jews remember Israel’s miraculous redemption from Egypt with: “Your people saw your kingdom as you cleaved the sea before Moses.”  Meaning, when the Red Sea parted, GOD’s power burst in on creation in an astonishing way.  GOD was showing His people (and His enemies) who is really in charge of the universe.   Similarly, when Jesus walked through the land, healing and delivering people, GOD’s Kingdom was visibly breaking into history, just like the Exodus, but in a greater way than before.  Being accused of using demonic forces, Jesus responds, “If I drive out demons by the finger of GOD, then the Kingdom of GOD has come to you.” This is a reference to Exodus, when Egyptian...

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Posted by on Oct 7, 2013 in Messiah Monday | 0 comments

The Kingdom is Near

The Kingdom is Near

*Messiah Monday* — Jesus claimed that GOD’s reign had definitely come to earth in His ministry.  Jesus healed or cast out demons and then declared that the Kingdom of GOD was “near” or “at hand” (Luke 10: 9).  Speaking of GOD’s Kingdom like this was unique to Jesus and essential to His message.   One thing that may be confusion is the English word “near” because it sounds like Jesus is saying that the Kingdom is “Close, but not quite.”  It’s most likely that Jesus used the Hebrew verb “karav*, which means intimately close.  For instance, the prophet Isaiah “came near” (karav) to his wife and she conceived a son (Isaiah 8: 3).  How much nearer could he get?   What exactly does it mean to say that GOD’s “Kingdom” had arrived in Jesus’ ministry?  It means that through Jesus, GOD was revealing his sovereignty.  He was stepping into history and taking charge, defeating the gods of this world through the life, death, and resurrection of His...

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Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Messiah Monday | 0 comments

Thy Kingdom Go Forward

Thy Kingdom Go Forward

*Messiah Monday* — One of the most familiar phrases in the Lord’s Prayer is “Thy Kingdom come”.  But what did Jesus mean by it?  It may be surprising that Jews have been praying in a similar way for thousands of years.  Even though they believed that GOD already reigned over them, they prayed that the whole world would on day know and honor GOD.   This can help us understand the Lord’s Prayer.  “Thy Kingdom come” sounds like it’s about Christ’s second coming but it’s really about the world coming to worship GOD.  The first three lines voice our desire for GOD to expand his loving reign, bringing all people into relationship with Him.  We are praying for the Gospel to go forward, instead of sitting around waiting for Jesus’ return.   Still, this prayer points out a gap between the ideal reign of GOD and the way He actually reigns today.  It seems as we’re saying GOD isn’t king of the world just yet.  Or course, as Creator,...

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Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in Messiah Monday | 0 comments

Our GOD Reigns

Our GOD Reigns

*Messiah Monday* — ANOTHER LOOK – The gospels use two different phrases, “The Kingdom of Heaven” mostly in Matthew’s gospel and “The Kingdom of GOD” in the gospels of Mark, Luke and John.  Why the difference?  Because in Jesus’ day, and even today, Jewish people show their reverence for GOD’s name by not pronouncing it or writing it.  Instead they use the word, “heaven”.   Jesus did this too.  For example, in His parable about the prodigal son, the son says, “Father, I have sinned against *heaven* and in your sight.”  By using the kingdom of “heaven”, Matthew’s gospel was keeping the culturally correct expression.  The rest of the gospel writers used kingdom of “GOD” to communicate more clearly to their Greek audiences, who may not have understood that “heaven” meant “GOD”.   But, also, the Hebrew words “malkhut shamayim”: “Kingdom” really describes the *actions* and *control * of a king – his reign and authority; “Heaven”, as we already explained, always referred to GOD here, not a place. ...

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Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in Messiah Monday | 0 comments

It May Only Be A Mystery To US

It May Only Be A Mystery To US

*Messiah Monday* — Sometimes it sounds like Jesus was playing “Twenty Questions” with His disciples, discussing His mysterious Kingdom.  “It’s like a mustard seed” “It’s like a fisherman’s net” “It’s like a farmer’s field”, etc.  Jesus seemed to only drop hints instead of giving a flat-out definition.   Maybe we’ve even heard sermons that say, “The Kingdom is the church” “It’s Heaven” “It’s the reign of Christ at His return” or “It’s already but not yet”.  But then we come across another of Jesus’ parables that doesn’t make sense when compared with the latest thought or idea.   Honestly, many of Jesus’ sayings about the coming Kingdom has confused Christians for centuries.  Modern readers fall into this confusion because Jesus’ way of talking was so Jewish.  However, there was a larger discussion surrounding Him during His time and place.  If we’re able to tune into this 2,000 yr. old conversation through first-century Jewish ears, we may gain greater clarity, understanding of Jesus’ ministry and the nature and character of...

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