All of creation forms the realm and territory of His rule (1 Tim. 6:14-16)
In Luke 19:11, we are told that as Jesus was drawing near to Jerusalem, “the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.” Indeed, that was for many Jews, no ordinary Passover pilgrimage; there is a sense of an extra current excitement and tension. Certainly, some in the crowd earnestly believed they were finally going to witness the day that the long-awaited, heaven-sent Messiah made Himself known in all His glory, defeated and overthrew the ruling Roman Empire, and established the perfect rule of God on earth. This was particularly so with those disciples who had witnessed close-up the divine power of their Lord Jesus, and heard Him preached that the kingdom was at hand!
Human logic would surmise that the Lord Himself would play along with this crowd sentiment, and fulfill their expectations. Interestingly, we find the scriptures recording Jesus’ response to this was His telling of the parable of the ten minas. As we read on in the account of Luke, what Jesus was aiming to do was to correct the people’s (and the disciples’) misconceptions of what kind of kingdom was at hand, and what roles He, the King, and they, His servants, had to play (despite His repeated efforts to teach them). As Luke 18:34 revealed, “the disciples did not understand …and they did not know what He was talking about.” Rather, they had this idea that this Jesus would be the king who would set up a political Jewish kingdom (present and physical) in place of the Roman rule. The “at once” (vs. 11) suggests that the disciples’ mentality was one of “we need to do nothing but wait”!
Darrow Miller contends that this “theology of waiting” has immobilized many Christians. Recognizing the justification and glorification elements of Christian salvation, such Christians have overlooked the sanctification element! Many act and lived “as though they were saved for heaven only, giving little thought to serving Christ and having a role to play here and now in bringing in God’s kingdom” (Miller, Lifework, 51). Faith, for many, then becomes something that is “private and ineffective, as if it has nothing to offer this world and no power or relevance in the present.” The parable of the ten minas seems to tie the two aspects of reality closely together, the present and the future of God’s kingdom as of one piece, one that is ongoing at least until the Lord’s return! As in the parable, the master’s workers are tasked with responsibilities that entails action, in anticipation of his return (Luke 19:13 uses the word pragmateuomai). These given resources are not to be squandered, hoarded nor used for personal egos, but to be invested for the expansion of the kingdom.
Brothers and sisters, fellow warriors of the King, until His return, we have a real and spiritual battle to fight. The battle is for God’s truth, sanctity of life and justice, against hunger, poverty and ignorance, etc. To use a word that has become something of a hot internet term lately, God’s disciples are to occupy ourselves, using our God-given resources and gifts, to fight against the enemy and his forces, and occupy enemy territory! In the Garden of Eden, God the Father entrusted the management of all creation to Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:28ff). When our Lord Jesus departed, He entrusted a task to His disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). Yes, we are to be God’s faithful stewards in the task(s) that He has entrusted to us. Indeed, all of creation forms the realm and territory of His rule (and our service), the now and the present, with a goal towards the future, culminating in our Lord and King’s return when there will be the new heaven and the new earth!
Note: This is the last of a 5-piece blog on “Kingdom of God”. May our Lord be glorified!