Provoked To Good Works

Spiritual Growth Takes Time and Effort

Luskey and Donna Green

Following Jesus always results in doing the good works that He modeled as an example for our life-style. Following Jesus constantly leads us in answering this question: "What does the love of Christ within me compel me to do in this real life situation?" God is the one who brings these situations to us to act upon, but we gotta to have His eyes to see them and not walk away! This is kingdom servanthood.

The Kingdom and Its King

I had an interesting conversation the other day with a friend who was adamant that the Messianic kingdom is yet to come. I was sure my presentation was compelling and convincing. Wrong! He just could not see it. I think I know why. Let’s investigate together, shall we?

The Nation of Israel had a fever pitched anticipation for the Messiah to come and the Messianic Kingdom with Him during the time of the ministry of Jesus. They knew very well the time line set in Daniel’s prophecy and the time was upon them. They were filled with expectation and zeal for what lay before them. The studied the Prophets and knew them like you know the pledge of allegiance. But there was a major three-fold problem.

Before we lay out the problem, let’s gain some insight into spiritual blindness. Our reference point is the Gospel of John chapter 3. (My friend above just could not see it.) Jesus told Nicodemus (notice His words carefully), “… unless one is born again he can not see the kingdom of God.” Born again is a complete and radical change at the core of one’s being, it is a clean slate starting all over again. Corn bread English here. The kingdom Jesus brought as their Messiah was the exact opposite of what they were expecting. To see His Kingdom as He did, they would have to start at ground zero like a new born babe. And they would have to be taught the reality of the Kingdom He did establish. Then they could respond to that teaching and be born of the water and the Spirit entering the Kingdom. I hope you can see Jesus’ point to Nicodemus. Until one starts all over (a complete paradigm shift) in view of the Kingdom, blindness is the problem. This is so true concerning many aspects of life, not just religion. So, the three-fold problem, what was it?

First, briefly, Israel was expecting the conquering ‘son of man’ in Daniel’s prophecies to conquer their enemies. A King like king David, in fact, the Messianic King is the son of David. They were totally focused here and blind to all else.

Second, they were blind to the Messianic King being the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. This servant was offered as a lamb and satisfied the Lord for the atonement of sin. Israel wound up crucifying this Lamb due to their blindness. Jesus combined both the son of man and the suffering servant together when He rebuked Peter. Remember, He asked the question, “Who do men say that I the Son of Man am?” (Here is the image of the conquering King) (Matt 16:13) After Peter’s confession, He taught them from that time on, “…. he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Here is the Suffering Servant) (Matthew 16:21, ESV) Peter rebuked Jesus; this will never happen to you. Read it for yourself. (Matt 16:13-23)

Third, they were blind to the fact that the Messianic King and His Kingdom were to be a blessing to all nations of the earth; to all the families of the earth. This is the direct fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. They saw the King and the Kingdom only a blessing to themselves.

The framework of Israel’s kingdom paradigm did not include the Abrahamic Promise. It did not include the Messianic King being the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53; the Lamb that the Lord would provide for Himself recorded in Gen 22. It did include a prideful revenge to punish the nations for their treatment of their nation. The wrong framework leads to the wrong vision of how one sees Christ and His kingdom then and today.

From my perspective, we are to see the King conquering the evil forces at work in the hearts and souls of the lost and our heart and soul as we mature. We are to see the King offering Himself as a Lamb slain to offer redemption for the lost and ourselves as well. We are to see the King and His Kingdom as the fulfillment to the Abrahamic promise to be a blessing to all nations and families of the earth. That blessing not simply redemption but also the obligation to function in His Kingdom as royal priests to penetrate and subdue evil where it exists. But to see this vision, we all must have the same framework that ties it all together. We hopefully will be able to explore that framework in coming articles.

But now, be noble and verify that what I have placed before you is true.