Here On Earth
These days, it can seem like there is no good news to be found. Death, greed, sickness, violence, affairs, uncertainty, and more. What do you do when the whole world seems to be going to shambles?
In a society where key leaders around the world let us down and everyone has become so hostile toward each other, constantly fighting and fussing, hope seems more and more unrealistic and farfetched.
However, even in a world full of bad news, I have some good news for you this Christmas season.
It’s not coming from 45 or 46. And it’s not coming from Fox News or CNN. It’s coming from an angel named Gabriel to a young teenage virgin girl sometime around 5 or 6 B.C.
Luke, a doctor and travel journalist, records it for us.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” – Luke 1:26-33
The angel says that Mary, a virgin, is going to conceive in her womb a son named Jesus, and he will be called the Son of the Most High.
Here’s the really good part: “the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father (or his ancestor) David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob (Israel, God’s people) forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” In other words, Gabriel is telling Mary that the long-awaited savior for Israel is on his way! He is coming to rule and to reign over God’s people forever. And get this…
Of his Kingdom, there will be no end.
That’s really good news. Read on to see why I say that.
Jesus the Eternal King
The people of Israel had very long history of terrible kings. They were sinful, selfish, prideful, money-loving, power-hungry, deceiving, divisive kings.
Israel was actually warned about this when they first demanded a king back in 1 Samuel 8. However, Israel insisted. For the most part, they got exactly what they asked for.
Eventually Israel is run into the ground, finding themselves in exile. You can read about all this in 1 Kings and 2 Kings.
There’s lots of bloodshed and idolatry and wickedness. No love, no joy, no peace. No justice, no righteousness. Lots and lots of bad news.
Israel has had many bad kings and many bad reigns. There must be a greater king, a messiah, a savior for the people of Israel who is to come…
The prophet Isaiah speaks of the coming King in Isaiah 9:6-7.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6-7
There’s a child coming, a son given to us. The government, the reign of the people, will rest on him. He will take many names. His reign of peace will continually increase, and he will come from the line of David. More importantly, there will be no end to his Kingdom. Sound familiar?
It sounds a lot like what the angel Gabriel said to that teenage girl Mary in Nazareth almost 700 years later.
Mary would have been very familiar with the words of Isaiah. After this announcement from Gabriel to Mary, Mary’s body must have started shaking. Her stomach must have dropped. Her words must have been few.
There was a child coming, a son given to Mary. A son given to us. His name is Jesus.
Jesus is the eternal King of the eternal Kingdom. He is the King who has come and is coming again to bring with him the very fullness of his everlasting Kingdom. This Kingdom has no end. This Kingdom never loses. This Kingdom is heaven on earth.
This is good news this Christmas.
What is the Kingdom of God?
The good news of God is that, in Jesus’ arrival, he has brought a new Kingdom, a better Kingdom, the perfect Kingdom along with him.
In other words, the Kingdom has come near and is within your reach. But what exactly does that mean?
The Kingdom of God is essentially the reign of God over creation. It is abundant life under his rule.
Furthermore, the Kingdom of God describes a framework for the reconciliation of God and humanity, as well as heaven and earth. In this, we see that Jesus’ primary goal is not getting us to heaven but bringing heaven to us.
Where is the Kingdom of God?
The Kingdom of God is not some far off, ethereal space. Neither is it a physical place you can touch right now either.
The Kingdom of God is a present, evident reality that comes in Jesus. The Apostle Paul describes it as “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
As far as location, the Kingdom of God exists in any place where the people love God and love their neighbors. It’s the collection of brothers and sisters, friends and strangers, living and thriving in the perfect will of God together.
How is the Kingdom of God Established?
The Kingdom of God is established in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.
But the Kingdom of God doesn’t stop at the ascension of Jesus - it’s also carried in his people by the Spirit as they practice the way of Jesus. As they live set apart and holy, demonstrating the love of God to friends, strangers, and even enemies, finding joy in Jesus and His righteousness.
The Kingdom of God will be culminated in Jesus’ return at the end of all things where he will usher us into our forever home, which will essentially be just like this one, but without sin. It will be as though we’ve returned to the garden of Eden, where God and man lived together in one space, except the place where we will dwell will be like a city, and the tree of life will rest at its center.
How Do I Receive the Kingdom of God?
Repent and believe the good news, that Christ has come for you.
Embrace the abundant life that Christ offers in His Kingdom. Submit yourself to His rule and reign.
And finally, delight in the glory of the King. In the words of 1 Timothy 1:17, “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”