“If I can but live and die serving the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms; for in the Great Day my resurrection body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer.”

John G. Paton

TODAY’S READING: Luke 23; John 18–19

The gospel message brings together unlikely enemies. The death of Jesus united an evil Roman with an evil Jordanian (Luke 23:12). The missionary heart of God will draw some from every nation to Himself in worship, while many from every nation will unite against Him in war. God’s people are called to the triumphant promise that Jesus will be the praise of every tongue and to the sober reality that narrow is the path to life and broad the road to destruction and that more tongues of every language will curse the Savior than praise Him. In Christian missions we are triumphant without triumphalism, for we bear with Christ the agony that many will scorn His mercy and chose for themselves His eternal wrath. We cannot forget that the Father takes note of all who demand His Son’s death that their favorite Barabbas might live.

One of the most critical clarifications of Jesus during His trial before Pilate was the declaration: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). What was a relief to time-bound earthly powers was a consternation to the people of God then and now. The Israelites wanted a political kingdom then, a theocracy ruled by the Messiah. We have within the household of faith some with the same longing, but they couch their theology of dominionism[1] in terms of holism or revival. From the conservative “heaven invading earth” right to the liberal “social gospel” left, it is the same error, the longing that Jesus’ Kingdom would be of our world, our time, our moment, our way. And Jesus surprises us all by not complying with our theology.

Jesus’ Kingdom will not be established until our crucified and resurrected King comes back in power and glory. Jesus has given power and authority to wicked rulers for a season (19:11), and they will continue to wield it until the trumpet sounds. This earth, this world, human history is a moral train wreck hurtling towards destruction by fire. The Kingdom is not of this earth, not of this world. There will be a restart, a new earth and a new heaven, and only then will the Kingdom be established by the living, ruling, present King.

We should not weep for Jesus; rather, we need to weep for ourselves and this world (Luke 23:28). This world and all its systems are irretrievably fallen and they must be destroyed.  The cross was the declarative statement that this world as we know it can never be host to God’s Kingdom. The cross gives us relief from the fruitless pressure of trying to reform this world to make it God worthy. Jesus died for and to this world, as must we. Our energies must be collected and spent on getting ready for the next world by going out into all this world and preaching the gospel to every nation. The Kingdom is not here and will not be established here. We need not fight one another or squabble over land and authority. We must lift up our eyes to the resurrected King who is coming soon to destroy this earth and make a new one. This is our blessed and only hope, for only when the King comes does the Kingdom come.

[1] Dominion theology holds to the belief that the kingdom is here and now, and we are the super anointed or dedicated ones who will so live and serve in the earth that it will be overwhelmingly Christian.

Prayer Focus: Libya

Today’s Unreached People Group: Arab, Sudanese
Population: 235,000
Language: Arabic, Sudanese Spoken
Primary Religion: Islam
Evangelical: 0.05%
Estimated Workers Needed: 5

[Source: Joshua Project]

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