Throughout the life and ministry of Jesus we see many references to the “Kingdom of Heaven” or the “Kingdom of God” (Matthew 4:17, Luke 17:20-21). What’s especially important about these references is that Jesus contrasts the attributes of a worldly kingdom against those of his heavenly one. The best place to study that contrast is at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
An honest study of those verses reveals that true Christianity finds value in what the world disdains. The world teaches that those who are meek, those who are peacemakers are weak-minded. Only the strong will survive. But Jesus teaches the opposite. In his kingdom, weakness and humility are celebrated. Suffering and rejection, service and sacrifice are hallmarks of a disciple of Christ. While the world strives after power money, success and recognition, Christians should seek after Christ.
Today, we see that American Christianity is following the attitudes of the world more and more. It’s become popular to vocally and hatefully support political topics such as the right to gun ownership or our country’s foreign policies. I’ve read many comments on blogs and social media that are far from humble or Christ-like. It’s as if some would like to use Christianity to forcefully begin a revolution.
Jesus said and did some radical things. He led a revolution alright, but it didn’t require guns or political posturing. Although Jesus rightfully claimed to be King, he didn’t act like the kings of this world. He didn’t wield his power forcefully or lord over others with his strength. Even when Judas and the crowds came to capture Jesus, they came armed for a fight. Jesus responds, “Am I leading a rebellion that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me” (Mark 14:48)?
Jesus shows us that his disciples should live lives of peace (Romans 12:18). Rather than seeking revenge against those who persecute you, seek to love them instead (Romans 12:14, Matthew 5:43-45). Decide every day to put the things of his kingdom ahead of our own selfish desires.
Now that’s the kind of revolution I want to be a part of!