“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 NIV)
Jesus’ ministry began with talk about the kingdom. After he was baptized by his cousin John and was tempted in the wilderness, he began his preaching in this way:
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”” (Matthew 4:17 NIV)
Christianity, in many ways, is the story of the invasion of God’s kingdom into our world. Notice that Jesus does not say that the kingdom is about to be here, but that it “has come near.” Past tense. Not one day, but today. Already. Here.
How is that so?
Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, both fully divine and fully human. Therefore, Jesus carried in his very human self the perfect divine rule. He was fully surrendered to the divine kingdom. And he called others into this fully-surrendered-to-divinity way of being human as well.
But preparation work must be done, for we have rejected God’s rule in our lives. In order to take Jesus up on this kingdom call, which was the core of his message, we need to change. Change our attitudes, change our minds, change our hearts, change our actions.
This is what we mean by repentance. Repentance is not just saying, “I’m sorry” to God, although that is important. Repentance is changing our whole life’s orientation and commitments so that the kingdom-of-God reign we see in the person of Jesus can be possible in us as well.
When we say, “your kingdom come,” in the prayer Jesus taught us, we are not only asking for the world in a generic sense. We are inviting the arrival of God’s kingdom into our life in particular. In this way–person by person and life by life, the kingdom invasion expands.
Prayer: God, I’m grateful that your kingdom invaded our world in your Son Jesus Christ. Help me lay down any commitments that hinder your kingdom’s expansion in my life. Amen.