The kingdoms of men. Jesus confronted the individual kingdoms of men with truth in all its tenderness. His words and His actions proclaimed, and demonstrated, that being a servant/child in the Kingdom of God was infinitely better than being a “ruler” trying to “reign” over one’s own life and destiny. He brought the promise of hope, joy, and happiness (i.e. being blessed; see Matthew 5:3-12) and of having a significant purpose, in encountering the certain challenges of this life.
Of these individuals, seeking desperately to reign over their own lives, it was said, “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36) Jesus came and sought to be the compassionate Shepherd of their souls. He reached out to them, He touched them, He met them at their point of need – and He tenderly invited them to come and discover the riches of the Kingdom of God.
Before we close our thoughts on the three kingdoms, one other note bears mentioning. Jesus exclaimed, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49) Fire in the Scriptures almost always refers to judgment or purification. When Jesus mentions that He came to this earth to bring fire, He is expressing God’s Own desire to see His people purified of all religious falsehood and hypocrisy.
By necessity, this must happen through great resolve. Those dedicated solely to God, and to His truth, are destined to go directly “against the grain” of this world’s secular and religious kingdoms. The ways of this world and the dogmas of false thinking and religion are not easily swayed.
Jesus came as the Initiator of dynamic change – but this change does not come without the promise of confrontation, conflict, and the necessity of refining fire. Jesus warned His disciples of this difficult fact: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven… Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10, 12)
Jesus came to this earth to lovingly confront sinners with the liberating power of the truth – but always in compassion. He also came to confront hypocrisy and false religion with the fire of truth. In Jesus, we see that both are required, and both are part of the divine character.
The Wonder of the Kingdom
Jesus came to set the wonder of the Kingdom of God in motion within our hearts and to be the Instigator of the confrontation of false faith on this earth. He did not come merely to initiate Christianity, but true Christianity, for this is what truly conveys and reveals the very heart of God. In Jesus, we discover that God is supremely dedicated to that which is absolute and true.