QUESTION 21: IS THE CHURCH A KINGDOM?
“You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22:28-30)
“Do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world? If the world is to be judged by you, are you unqualified for the lowest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels?” (I Corinthians 6)
When Jesus came down from the mountain after an all-night prayer meeting, He chose 12 apostles, a.k.a. 12 kings. Since Jesus’ kingdom is an already now and not yet, the apostles began sharing the rule the moment Jesus conferred to them the office of apostle. As kings of the new kingdom, the apostles do not judge like their Gentile contemporaries.
It is an upside-down kingdom.
The last shall be first.
Leaders are servants.
Kings, like the Apostle Paul, endure all kinds of suffering.
Unfortunately, the Corinthians resembled the children of Israel in the wilderness. When their Moses talked, they groaned, complained and acted like pagans. Even though they had crossed the red sea and escaped the life of bondage, they were acting like the subjects of the prince of darkness.
Usually, we do not think of churches as outposts for the King. But we are. There is a lot of work to be done.
Since it was their first day on the job, Jesus showed the apostles how kings spend their time: “ALL who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.”
QUESTION 22: HOW JUST WAS JOSEPH?
In the Old Testament, you knew everything was cool between you and the Lord if you were called just. A just man was a happy man studying God’s word day in day out. Such was the testimony of the legal dad of Jesus, Joseph. As one pastor put it, “Joseph lived the law as the Gospel.”
Someone who is deep in Scripture knows a thing or two about discernment. Joseph knew the different between his spirit and His Spirit. This is more than interesting because Joseph lived during the time when God had given up on the Jews. As a man of Scripture, had Joseph ever thought about Isaiah 7:14 as relating to himself. The original recipient of that prophecy, AHAZ, was the exact opposite of Joseph. Instead of embracing Isaiah’s prophetic invitation, he brushed it off as a cold and calculating politician. Even though Isaiah instructs AHAZ not to fear, his faith is in the here and now. In contrast, Joseph awakens from his prophetic dream, fully armed with the awareness of a new day for the people of God. The Immanuel of Isaiah’s prophecy will soon be with us.
As children of the new covenant, the followers of Immanuel are referred to as believers. We believe in the impossible and yet the historical reality of Jesus’ virgin birth. Like Joseph, we drink from the same river of life hearing God’s voice even though God may have given up on His people. We seek to remain undefiled seeking to enter the story of salvation as we awake from our sleep.
Ask God to show you how to be holy like Joseph.
QUESTION 23: WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
“Where are you from?” Pilate asked Jesus that question implying that Jesus was a king. Jesus’ answer in instructive, “My kingdom was not of this world.” Because we are related to the Son of God, people react the same way to us.
With Jesus we say, “Our kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Our 401K account is located at a different zip code. Like Jesus, we have an old soul. The prophet Micah agrees, He refers to Jesus whose origin is from old, from ancient times.” We agree with Jesus about our destiny, “The reason we were born to share the good news about the kingdom of God” (John 18:37)
The question, “Is this not Jesus whose father and mother we know?” is asked of us because with our new birth, we have come down from heaven to do the Father’s will. Our family is now God’s family. Mary is our Mother, Jesus our brother and God is our Father.
Jesus returned home but in a sense never returned home. With Jesus, we experience the saying, “A prophet is not welcome in His home town.”
Like Jesus, our wisdom is not from below but from above. People ask us, “Where did you get that understanding?” In addition, “How do your hands heal?”
QUESTION 24: HOW SURPRISING IS YOUR GOD?
Zero sum games are games where if I win you have to lose. I have to take away something from you to “gain” or “win,” and you must do the same to me if you are to “win.”
In zero sum theology, Heaven’s checking account is limited. If God heals, provides, rescues the Presbyterians than the local Baptists are out of luck. The great cloud of witnesses, know this is not true. So does the woman with the issue of blood and Jarius’ daughter.
I think the Pharisee in all of us objects when God provides for people we think our outside the camp due to our categories of ceremonial uncleanness. Someone who does not obey any of my rules gets all of God’s blessings.
If you were the woman in today’s story, you probably would believe in your own version zero sum theology.
12 years in and out of the best hospital.
12 years of surgeries, office visits, prescriptions and experimental drugs,
you have bent God’s ear for 4380 days straight.
Your theology is right, your lifestyle adds up.
What does she do? She surprises Jesus.
“She came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak.”
Do you believe in a God who is open to surprises? Alternatively, is everything cut and dry?
If heaven is doing a play by play of the woman and Jesus, I can hear the Archangel saying to Abraham, “Did you see the look on Jesus face?”
QUESTION: When was the last time you surprised heaven by your faith?
QUESTION 25: ARE YOU UNDER SIEGE?
It has been a tough week for Jesus.
The hometown crowd threw stones at him; then His family tells Him He is nuts and today the religious elite suggest His real employer is Satan.
Jesus is under siege. Unlike the direct attacks in the wilderness, Satan used the three most important groups (i.e. family, friends and the religious establishment) to do the attacking.
So what should we do if Satan comes knocking?
Remember these three things:
1) HOPE is so powerful you won’t underline the verse, “will not be forgiven in this life and the life to come.” Hope is so strong that it conquers all of our terrible choices forever. God’s forgiveness is stronger than your last choice!
2. BOTH GOD AND SATAN STIR! When God stirs, the result is “power and love and self-control”. When Satan stirs, he mimics each of these three. He gives us power but it is a twisted power. He offers love and self-control but it is rooted in selfishness.
3. SING to the LORD a new song.” Satan’s spiritual gifting was music. It makes sense for him to use that media to drain us from hope.
However, we can turn the tables on him by singing the way He sings over me (cf. Zephaniah 3:17).