It’s nearly Easter. I love chocolate. I love the long days. I love the spring sunshine. There is so much to love about this time of year. I also love the fact that we get to think again about Jesus! I know that we’re supposed to think about Him more than once a year but this is such a special time of year and no church blog would go through this time of year without mentioning Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the people hail as the King of Israel. Think about that: Jesus is the King. Careful though, this is not a “rags to riches tail”. Jesus has always been the King. If anything this is a “riches to rags to riches” tail (Jesus, the Second member of the Godhead, God made flesh, suffered and died, rises from the dead, ascends on high and ever rules and reigns … but all that is another blog post!).
When Jesus started his public ministry He called people to repent. That means that He called people to change their mind about sin and God. Why? Well it wasn’t merely for the sake of it! Listen to what Jesus says in Mark 1:14-15:
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
So the call to repent is given in light of what He called “the Kingdom.” We are to repent. Why? because of the Kingdom. The thing I want to focus on in this post is that Jesus is the King of a Kingdom. Both Herod and Pilate attested to Jesus’ Kingship (see Matthew 2:2 and Matthew 27:11-12). Before we go too far I’ll have to admit that today there is quite a bit of disagreement amongst theologians about what the Kingdom actually is – has it been established, what form does it take, is it currently in the process of being formed, is it coming in the future, or is it not coming at all? All really good questions but not for this blog post! I want to focus on the fact of Jesus’ Kingship and what it means for the Christian.
Whatever else can be said about the nature of the Kingdom, one thing can surely be said: Jesus is the King and He makes the rules. That’s why Jesus began His ministry with a call to repentance. Once again, repentance means to change one’s mind. This means change in:
Paul tells us in Ephesians 2 that once we followed “the prince of the power of the air”. This prince is none other than Satan himself. Before we know Jesus we followed Satan. Since we have been brought into God’s family we now recognise Jesus as the King, and as such He deserves our obedience. If Jesus is the King we should place ourselves under His authority and rule. As citizens of his Kingdom, we should submit ourselves to Him. What that means is that we must have an ATTITUDE of humility which is seen in prayerful dependence of Him.
What do you value? Better question: what does Jesus value? Our culture values achievement, success, independence, and image. Sometimes these are placed higher in value than ethics and morality. But the things that Jesus values are the things that the Kingdom values because Jesus is the King.
The values of the Kingdom are laid out by Paul in Galatians 5 (known as the fruit of the Spirit):
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;
These things we are supposed to value because citizens of the Kingdom people adopt the King’s values – even His character.
It’s all very well to talk about attitudes and values but the real test of Kingdom Citizenship is how these allegiances and values play out the real world where treasure, time and talent intersect. The real test? how do we spend our time, talents and money? Jesus said in Matthew 6:33:
“Seek first the kingdom of God”
That’s a phrase to do with priorities. Seek FIRST.
Jesus gives each and everyone of us purpose. We’re not saved to live aimlessly from day to day, lacking purpose or direction. The King orders us to live as subjects of the kingdom and promote kingdom values in everyday life and work. Ultimately, He wants His followers to extend His message to the ends of the earth, so that all people have the opportunity to give their allegiance to Him as their Saviour and King