Luke 9:27. “But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.”
The phrase “Kingdom of God”, has been an interest of mine since I was a child. It invokes thoughts of knights and Kings, chivalry and honor. When considering the importance Jesus placed on this concept and the mystery surrounding it, I certainly wanted to go there. The question I had was: how do I become a member of this Kingdom? What does it take? Is there some special ceremony or valiant deed I must do?
In examining God’s Word for insight, I became a bit confused. In one instance Jesus talks of seeing the Kingdom of God as in Luke 9, (which apparently confused the disciples), while a similar account in Mark 9:1 shows it seen with power.
What then made it more confusing was Jesus’ statement in Luke 19:20 “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation;”
So in one moment Jesus describes it as something we see, the next moment we can’t observe it. To make it even more interesting, He adds to it in verse 21 by saying, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Now, if the Kingdom of God is within people, it makes sense we can’t see it, but what about Luke 9:27, or John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In many instances, it seems it is something that we can see or observe with our eyes.
We know it’s important, Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God in Luke 8:1, and He sent out His disciples to proclaim it as well in Luke 9:2. Paul proclaimed it in Acts 28:31 as well as the early church in Colossians 4:11.
We can gain clues as to what the Kingdom of God might look like in Romans 14:17 “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”, while Jesus helps clarify it to those who were following Him in Luke 11:20 “But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
So what actually is the Kingdom of God? Can we see it or not? How do we become a member?
Well, for one, we know who will not be in this Kingdom in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Now I have a problem. Many of these sins, I have committed. Matter of fact, I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t committed most of these sins. So if the unrighteous cannot enter, does that mean the righteous can? If I were to stop at the gates of this Kingdom and examine the criteria, I would walk away disappointed and discouraged. I am disqualified. I know I am a sinner and my sins prohibit me from entering, but as I read on in 1 Corinthians 6, I see hope arise: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
I now begin to see what my eyes couldn’t before; the Kingdom of God is not a place I can physically walk to, it is embodied in our hearts. Jesus represented it perfectly in His life, He is the King of this kingdom, which is why, when He cast out the demons it was to show the people of what order He is King. The signs were a revelation of this kingdom, casting out demons, healing the sick, raising the dead, these all were clues that Jesus represents a different Kingdom that will last forever. Other kingdoms have risen and fallen through the centuries, but this Kingdom, it’s King and its citizens will endure.
So how do we become a member?
Jesus proclaimed it from the beginning of His ministry in Mark 1:14-15 “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
To repent comes from the Greek word ‘Metaneo’, is to change one’s mind or purpose, to think differently, or in other words, to think like Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16 “For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
This idea of repentance was preached by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:2, “And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
What was at hand? Jesus the Messiah had come, the very definition of this Kingdom, the originator and creator of it, the King!
So to become a member requires acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life and repentance of your sins. The King of this kingdom must become sovereign over your life. Before, your king was you, your kingdom was what you made it, sin reigned in you and like every other kingdom on earth, it was bound to fall.
This Kingdom of God, it has no end because the King who reigns in it, who will reign in your heart, cannot be overcome.
His promise remains true today. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
So I implore you, join this Kingdom, and you will never be the same. The hope you gain today will carry into hope for tomorrow and the promises Jesus the King has made will be your future:
John 14:1-4 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
I’ve found the way to this Kingdom, will you?