Thinking Kingdom: N.T.Wright

N.T.Wright, from his book Simply Jesus:

“The thing that really matters, [is] the fact that through Jesus’ followers God is establishing his kingdom and the rule of Jesus himself on earth as it is in heaven. . . .

Now, with Jesus joining heaven and earth together in his own person, the Holy Spirit, who anointed and equipped Jesus himself for his kingdom work, comes pouring out onto his followers, so that they become as it were an extension of the new Temple. Where they are, heaven and earth are joined together. Jesus is with them, his life is at work in and through them, and, whether in Jerusalem or out in the wider world, they are the place (land!) where the living God, the God who is reclaiming the world for his own, is alive and active and establishing his sovereign rule. . . . When God wants to change the world, he doesn’t send in the tanks. He sends in the meek, the mourners, those who are hungry and thirsty for God’s justice, the peacemakers, and so on. Just as God’s whole style, his chosen way of operating, reflects his generous love, sharing his rule with his human creatures, so the way in which those humans then have to behave if they are to be agents of Jesus’ lordship reflects in turn the same sense of vulnerable, gentle, but powerful self-giving love.

It is because of this that the world has been changed by people like William Wilberforce, campaigning tirelessly to abolish slavery; by Desmond Tutu, working and praying not just to end apartheid, but to end it in such a way as to produce a reconciled, forgiving South Africa; by Cicely Saunders, starting a hospice for terminally ill patients ignored by the medical profession and launching a movement that has, within a generation, spread right around the globe…. Jesus rules the world today not just through his people “behaving themselves,” keeping a code of ethics, and engaging in certain spiritual practices, important though those are. . . Jesus rules the world through those who launch new initiatives that radically challenge the accepted ways of doing things; jubilee projects to remit ridiculous and unpayable debt, housing trusts that provide accommodation for low-income families or homeless people, local and sustainable agricultural projects that care for creation instead of destroying it in the hope of quick profit, and so on. That is how the sovereignty of Jesus is put into effect. . . .

The poor in spirit will be making the kingdom of heaven happen. The meek will be taking over the earth, so gently that the powerful won’t notice until it’s too late. The peacemakers will be putting the arms manufacturers out of business. Those who are hungry and thirsty for God’s justice will be analyzing government policy and legal rulings and speaking up on behalf of those at the bottom of the pile. The merciful will be surprising everybody by showing that there is a different way to do human relations other than being judgmental, eager to put everyone else down. “You are the light of the world,” said Jesus. “You are the salt of the earth.” He was announcing a program yet to be completed. He was inviting his hearers, then and now, to join him in making it happen. This is, quite simply, what it looks like when Jesus is enthroned.”

This is what it looks like when we “take the land.”

 

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This entry was posted in Christianity, Contemporism, Evangelism, Faith, God, Is it me?, Jesus, life, Listening, The church today and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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