Tag Archives: Jesus

Two Kingdoms – The Great Divide

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There are two theologies that are locked in mortal combat.  The Theology of Glory represents all human effort and religion that seeks to find its way to the Ultimate. The Theology of the Cross is God’s negation of this through the cross of Jesus Christ. God’s answer to human effort is the cross.  Jesus inaugurates his Kingdom through crucifixion.  It is there that he is proclaimed  “The King of the Jews”, by a skeptical and cynical Pontius Pilate.  Little did Pilate know that in crucifying Jesus, he was lifting him up to define forever that great divide between two kingdoms, two theologies,  the kingdom of darkness, sin and death and the kingdom of light, righteousness and life.    The two criminals crucified with Jesus symbolize these two kingdoms through each man’s reaction to the crucified Lord.  The one joins with the religious leaders, the Roman soldiers and the mindless crowd as they deride Jesus, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the Christ, the Chosen One.”  This man adds his own mocking insult. “Arn’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us.”  (Luke 23:39) Full of bitterness and gall, even as he is dying, he writes Jesus off as a powerless loser.  He would rather die bitter and angry than turn and be saved.  This is the world’s response to Jesus crucified and it seals their fate as they align themselves with the powers of the day, with the religion’s response to the cross. The other criminal rebukes the first.  “Do you not fear God?” he says.  He declares God just in that they are getting what they deserve for their deeds. He understands and acknowledges that Jesus is the Righteous One, who  is giving himself up for Sin in order to inaugurate his Kingdom.  His words, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom”  reveal his confidence and faith in the the crucified Christ.  This is truly remarkable!  Here is Jesus, powerless,  lifted up on a cross, the antithesis of majesty and authority, yet this man confesses his faith in him as King!  He is miles ahead of the disciples in understanding and faith.  And he is the first entrant into the Kingdom of light. Jesus’ response to him confirms it:  “Today you will be with me in paradise”. And so the crowd divides, as do all human beings henceforth.  “What is your take on the man crucified in the middle?” becomes the question that now defines all people.   The skeptics and scoffers move to the left of Jesus and align themselves with the world of unbelief.  They prefer their own way, the Theology of Glory.  That world will soon be judged and punished.  Those born of God, move to the right and believe.  Jesus is Lord!  His Kingdom will never end.  Though hidden now, except to eyes of faith, it will one day be revealed for all to see.  Thy Kingdom come.

Three men crucified on a hill.  One died for sin.  One died in sin. One died to sin.  Which one are you?  

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Jerusalem

There is deep in the human heart a yearning for peace, for security, for rest. We don’t feel that much in North America, because it has been so long since we have had a war on our soil. But in places like Syria, Somalia, Chechnya, and the Congo, people are tired of war. Imagine devastated buildings, lack of water, food, and the daily tension of knowing that your life or that of a loved one could end at any moment.

The passage below from Isaiah 2, promises that there will be a day when nations will “beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks” and that they will give up war forever. This theme has long motivated peacemakers and anti-war demonstrators to work towards this dream of a warless existence for humanity. Those of us who are Christians, understand that we are expected to be peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” is the promise that rings from Jesus’ own lips. (Matt. 5:9). So we applaud and pray for those who work for peace. May God give them success.

However, we must note that this passage from Isaiah refers to a time when the house of the Lord will be established as the highest of the mountains. It shall be lifted up above all the hills. The nations shall flow into it. looking and seeking justice and guidance from God himself – that is YHWH, the God of Jacob. Jerusalem will be the worship, justice and peace capital of the world and God himself will dispense it from Jerusalem. We certainly do not see that now. I do not believe that we will see it until that day when Jesus returns. The scriptures promise that in the last days there will betimes of great tribulation. Jesus prepared his disciples to expect tribulation, wars, rumors of wars and hardship.

Concerning Jerusalem, Jesus lamented and wept over it. What would have brought it peace was hidden from it and Jesus said that it would be destroyed because its people did not recognize the days of its visitation. (Luke 19:42-44) And so Jerusalem, that city that symbolizes so much has been in turmoil ever since.

But there will come a day, when it will achieve its destiny as the worship capital of the world. It will become the peace and justice center of humanity. It will be the abode of God himself and will be recognized as such by everyone. The nations will flow into it.

It the meantime, we yearn and pray for that day when this will be so. Every time, we pray, “Thy kingdom come.”, we are praying for the peace of Jerusalem, and when we pray for that, we are praying for peace on earth.

“It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob,come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”  Isaiah 2:2-5