The Cross and the Kingdom of God
May isang lalaki roon na ang pangala’y Jose. Siya’y taga-Arimatea, isang bayan sa Judea. Mabait at matuwid ang taong ito, at isa siya sa mga naghihintay sa paghahari ng Diyos. Kahit na siya’y kagawad ng Sanedrin, hindi siya sang-ayon sa kanilang ginawa kay Jesus. Nagpunta siya kay Pilato at hiningi ang bangkay ni Jesus.
The four gospels tell the story of Jesus launching the Kingdom of God. In Mark 1:15 (ESV), we see Jesus starting His earthly ministry with these words: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” In the prayer He taught His disciples, Jesus prayed, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, ESV). Joseph of Arimathea, a secret follower of Jesus had been waiting for the coming of the kingdom of God—ang paghahari ng Diyos.
New Testament scholar N.T. Wright wrote, “In the four gospels, Jesus dies so that God’s kingdom may be inaugurated on earth as in heaven.” He added, “And Jesus, dying to bring that about, is himself the ultimate signpost to God the Creator, set up within his broken world.”
Jesus died for you and me to save us from sin. By His death, the power of evil over us was broken, and we were set free from its bondage. By His death, He restored to us the power as image bearers of God. We have been ransomed to be a “royal priesthood,” called out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). We have become people of the Kingdom.
Jesus took our sins so that with victory assured, we may be what N.T. Wright calls “signpost-makers for the kingdom here and now.” While we anticipate the joy of eternity in the presence of God, we have tasks to do to draw people into God’s Kingdom. Jesus has set us free so that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can pursue what truly matters in God’s Kingdom — love, hope, peace, truth, justice, freedom, healing, reconciliation, among others.
Thank You, dear Jesus, that by Your death, You have brought me into Your Kingdom. Show me how I can be a “signpost-maker” for Your Kingdom here and now.
What “Kingdom tasks” can you take on where you are now? Who are the individuals or groups you hope to reach as you do these?