The Present Kingdom
Four hundred years passed after the completion of the Old Testament before Jesus came and began his public ministry. Look at Mark 1:14-15.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
There are two things that we see in this passage that set the stage for the rest of the New Testament:
- Expectations are fulfilled: The waiting is over, God’s king has come to establish the kingdom. His life, teaching and miracles all proved that he was who he said he was.
- The kingdom is near: The reality of the kingdom coming in the person and work of Jesus Christ shows that everything is being made right. Mark 4 Jesus walks on the water and it obeys him. Creation’s real master has come to put it under submission.
Jesus came to make things right. It was by his death, burial and resurrection that Jesus dealt with the problem of sin and made it possible for human beings to be made right with God. The resurrection proved the success of his mission and provided hope for all who believe.
The Proclaimed Kingdom
Jesus accomplished the work of redemption for all who believe on the cross, but following his resurrection, he ascended into heaven, announcing that there would be a delay between his leaving and his return so that people might take the good news of his accomplished kingdom work to all the nations, that they might believe in him and be ready for him to come again. This began in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost and it continues to this day and we are a part of this kingdom reality in which we experience the already/not yet. We experience the reality that God has redeemed us in our souls already but he has not yet returned physically to reign.
The Perfected Kingdom
One day Jesus will return. He will put down the rebellion of sin once and for all. He will cast off his enemies forever and then he will take his people to the new earth, the fully restored Kingdom. God’s people will finally be in God’s place under God’s rule and blessing for all eternity.
As this is the year of worship, I want you to see how this survey of God’s word and the faithfulness of God fuels your worship. You are a part of this grand story. You are God’s people! The promises of God haven’t fallen or become inadequate. The idea that you have been predestined, called, justified and will be glorified isn’t wishful thinking. It is the solid, soul-anchoring promise of God that will be carried out. So when you read your Bible, this is the truth of God that cannot fail. Take heart and worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth whose word abides forever. Take heart and worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth because there is one plan, one savior who is the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the father but though him and you, believer, are his.