Simple Statements about the Kingdom
The mention of Jesus’ kingdom brings widely divergent pictures to people’s minds. There are many speculative theories about it. Who knows the kingdom better than the King Himself? Keep in mind these simple statements Jesus made about His kingdom.
Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). His kingdom is not political. It is not marked by geographical boundaries. It is not advanced or defended by military force. It is not earthly or worldly, it is heavenly or spiritual. Earlier, Jesus had said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:20-21). Several translations say “within you” (NKJV, NIV). The New Testament word for kingdom first means rule itself, then, secondarily, the realm over which one rules. Jesus rules in hearts.
Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). That was at the beginning of His ministry. Jesus’ view was that in His day it was time for the Old Testament prophecies about God’s kingdom to be fulfilled. That puts Him at odds with modern theories that the prophets foresaw something which remains in the future.
Jesus taught His disciples to preach the nearness of the kingdom (Matthew 10:7), and that was true even in the face of rejection of it (Luke 10:10-11). At the close of Jesus’ Galilean ministry He said, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God, after it has come with power” (Mark 9:1).
Its Entrance Requirements
“Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15) points to the spiritual nature of Jesus’ reign. For Jesus to reign in our hearts we must believe the good news about who He is and what He offers, then allow Him to reign by turning from sin and submitting to His will, living that on a day-to-day basis. Jesus described this change as a new birth: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). That new birth includes being born of water or baptized. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (v. 5).
Jesus told Israel’s leaders, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it” (Matthew 21:43). Jesus’ kingdom is individual, not national, in makeup. The “Sermon on the Mount” is “the gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23ff). It describes the character of a kingdom citizen.
Jesus said more about the kingdom. A number of the parables are about it (e.g., Matthew 13). These simple statements from the King are foundational to a proper understanding of the kingdom.