Devotion: Monday, November 26, 2018

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verse is from John 18:36-37, where the Bible says,   

 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 

Two Kingdoms, One Mission!

One of the hardest things to deal with in this world is to face the never-ending reality of sin and pain. Often Christians are tempted to believe that Jesus came into this world to make this “sinful world just a little better.” We are tempted to think that Jesus merely wishes to give us a bit of grace so that we can really change things or at least endure things. While it is true that trying to lead a moral and ethical life, to serve our fellow human beings in His Name, can make this world a little better, the Bible teaches that Jesus came to give so much more.

There’s a tension in that. His Kingdom isn’t just a “better” place. It is a perfect place. It’s a Kingdom IN this world, FOR this world, but not OF this world. Jesus inaugurated that Kingdom His way, through the cross, so that all might receive it by grace, through faith, in Him alone.

Revelation 21 gives us a glimpse of this Kingdom in all its glory. St. John says,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away….And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

He alone makes all things NEW! And the day is coming when what we know is true by faith, will be true by sight as well. But in the meantime, God calls us to receive Christ’s Kingdom by grace through faith. He calls us to share this kingdom not by force (the way of this world), but by service (the way of His Kingdom). Jesus clearly differentiates His Kingdom from all others. He teaches us to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21). But He clearly teaches that even Caesar’s authority is given by God for God’s purposes and not Caesar’s own (Romans 13:1). Earthly authority, like that of Caesar and Pontius Pilate, is real. However, it isn’t to save, but to preserve this sinful world so that the message of the saving Gospel, the message of the coming “new heavens and the new earth,” can be proclaimed for all to hear, calling all “out of  darkness into His (Christ’s) marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

This past Sunday was “Christ the King Sunday” in many Christian Churches around the world. On that day, Churches celebrated the fact that Christ’s Kingdom is here and now, but it is a radically different Kingdom of forgiveness, life, and salvation as a gift of God’s grace. His Kingdom is here in the midst of a world that is passing away. It’s a comfort to know that God is always at work to preserve the world so that He might ultimately save the world.

May we never forget which Kingdom lasts forever and ever. May all your work, all your leisure, all your life be focused on that reality because, when all is said and done, it is the one thing that matters. And it is the one thing that gives purpose to all that we do each day. Two Kingdoms, one Mission….God is always at work in the world to bless and to save. Be a part of His preserving and saving work for others. You’ll be glad that you did!

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, amidst all the distractions of this world, please keep my heart and mind on your Kingdom, the only Kingdom that lasts. AMEN.