Do you ever wonder what Jesus meant by the “Kingdom of God”? In the early days of His public ministry He told the crowds that the reason He was sent was to “preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God”. As He sent out His disciples and others, His instructions were to tell everyone about “the Kingdom of God” and to heal the sick. In fact, He wanted them to tell the people that the “Kingdom of God is near!” What do you think that Jesus wanted them to know, to understand and to preach?
The Jews had been anticipating the arrival of their Messiah for centuries. They believed that there would be a political restoration of their nation when He came and they counted on the promises that the prophets had made about peace and prosperity, joy and deliverance to be immediate. When you read the Old Testament books, like Isaiah, it becomes easy to understand why they so eagerly anticipated this time. When Jesus, the Messiah, did come only some were prepared to recognize Him as the One Who was sent from God. An even bigger transition for them was to believe that God’s kingdom would be established primarily in the hearts and lives of those who repented and acknowledged Jesus to be their Savior. Instead what the kingdom of heaven (the term that Matthew generally used) or the kingdom of God was like was demonstrated through the life of Jesus perfectly. His followers gradually came to understand that as they also lived in submission to God, His kingdom would become their experience. The joy and peace, righteousness and love that come from God would fill their hearts and overflow to the world around them.
When Jesus prayed, “Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Luke 11: 2), He gave them a very clear insight into the meaning of the Kingdom of God, didn’t He? Some day when Jesus comes again in all of His glory, His kingdom will be established on this earth. There will be a “new Jerusalem” where all the peoples of this earth will bow down in worship and adoration. Sin and sorrow will be banished forever. Until that time all those who belong to the Kingdom of God, recognizing Him as King of their lives, have the amazing opportunity to demonstrate what that Kingdom is like to the world around them. Wow!