In search of clarity

Finding this book, “ Jesus: A Gospel Portrait,” rich with insight. The context of Jesus’ world (Chapter 2) is quite helpful – especially the nationalist feelings after the Maccabean revolt. And I now understand and respect the role of Pharisees in preserving Jewish religious life.

However, I’ve always had trouble understanding the concept of “the kingdom of God.” This book addresses it in several ways, starting in Chapter 3, but clarity still escapes me. For the moment, at least …

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One response to “In search of clarity

  1. So my confusion is understandable. Bible scholars agree that “kingdom of God” is the central theme of Jesus’ ministry, but not on what the term means. Is the time frame here and now? The future? Or both?
    Here’s what I’ve deduced from our readings:
    The concept is based on the Old Testament notion of God’s rule. Israel trusted that God was faithful and sovereign. He reigned over its loose confederation of tribes, before the era of monarchies. He would come again, establishing divine sovereignty over all the earth. God would draw near to man, establishing a world of divine mercy and justice.
    Jesus believed the rule of God was near at hand. “The reign of God is already in your midst.” (Luke 17:20-21). But several of his parables suggest the kingdom builds slowly, like a mustard seed.
    According to Senior, both time frames were intended then and now. “The fullness of the kingdom, the complete expression of God’s rule over Israel and the nations, awaits the future. …
    “But the choice is now.” We must choose, over and over again, to open ourselves to the new age of grace ushered in by the resurrection of Christ. The kingdom of God has come, in the risen Jesus.

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