Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Church and the Kingdom III

Let's continue on in this examination of the relationship of the church and the kingdom. Here's today's thought: The church is the instrument of the Kingdom in that the works of the Kingdom are performed through its members as through Jesus himself.

Jesus spent an awful lot of time explaining why he was sent. Dr. Arthur Glasser notes, "“Forty-four times in the Gospel of John, Jesus alluded to his being sent by the Father…” (Glasser, Arthur with C. Van Engen, D. Gilliland and S. Redford eds. Announcing the Kingdom: The Story of God’s Mission in the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003).

Here are some of the things Jesus said He had been sent to do: “to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18,19), to preach the good news of the Kingdom (Luke 4:43), to do God’s will (John 4:34), to represent God (John 12:45), and many others. Just prior to his death, Jesus had sent the disciples out as twelve (Luke 9) and as seventy-two (Luke 10) to do these exact same things. Then, when we come to John 20:19-21, we find Jesus commissioning the disciples to partner with the Holy Spirit to reach outward and incarnate the presence of Jesus in everything they do.

"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."

Dr. Gregory A. Boyd summarizes this idea in this way: “Jesus planted the seed of the kingdom of God with his ministry, death, and resurrection and then gave to the church, the body of all who submit to his lordship, the task of embodying and living out this distinct kingdom.” (Boyd, Gregory A., The Myth of A Christian Nation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005)

So, what do you think? How is the church doing at embodying the life of Jesus and the mission of the kingdom?

1 comment:

Mark Bradshaw said...

I don't think the idea of the Kingdom of God as a separate concept from the church is widespread among Christians. If you asked most what it was they wouldn't have an answer, I'm sure. Consequently, it isn't likely that the church is going to be doing very well accomplishing Kingdom goals if they don't even know what it is...