The Kingdom of God

In Matthew 12, Jesus is having a debate with some Pharisees regarding the source of His power. He casts out a demon and the Pharisees seem to think that means Jesus is in league with Satan. Jesus takes a moment to point out how this idea makes very little sense and would counterproductive to anything Satan might be trying to accomplish. Instead, as Jesus says, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

This curious statement is one Jesus will use a number of times throughout His ministry. As He tends to the sick and the hurting, those with varying afflictions, He will periodically note how their healing is evidence the kingdom of God is there. This indicates God’s kingdom works somewhat differently from the kingdoms and empires of the world. For God’s kingdom to be there when someone is being healed tells us this kingdom does not operate with geographic borders, as one might typically expect.

Rather, as in all kingdoms, the existence of the kingdom is tied directly to the presence of the king. However, where normal kingdoms have borders and boundaries, God’s kingdom is simply present wherever the King is. The King takes His kingdom with Him and He extends His kingdom through His saving work as He restores people and brings them in to make them citizens of His kingdom. When Christ is at work casting out demons, we see God in action. We see God saving His people. It becomes visible to all what it means to live under Christ’s reign as we see Him giving people their lives back and making them whole and healthy again, forgiven and restored.

Since God’s kingdom goes wherever the King goes, this has interesting implications for communion. Christ is truly present in His body and blood. This means that those who participate in the meal are also participating in God’s kingdom as He presides over the table to restore His people and grant them grace. While it may be no surprise to Christians that God saves people, it says something about what God thinks about His creation. Though Christ ascended into heaven, He is also still at work in His creation. He is here carrying on His saving work and that means His kingdom is present right along with Him.

That means God very much cares about His creation and what goes on in the world, even today. One day He will bring His work to completion, but He is still offering that grace and citizenship in His kingdom today. We don’t have to wait for His return because His kingdom is already with us now.

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