The Kingdom of God, November 9, 2016

I don't know if words are in order today, but I wanted to write some.

(And these reflections do fit with my series on preterism and the gospels. Today's post in that series is below.)

Here are some thoughts for November 9, 2016.

When Jesus went back to his hometown of Nazareth to inaugurate his ministry he entered the synagogue and took the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He found and then read these words aloud:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
Jesus then sat down and said something utterly shocking:
“Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Fulfilled in your hearing? Fulfilled?

The Roman empire was still in charge. Caesar still sat on his throne. As did Herod.

And yet, Jesus declared that the "Nazareth Manifesto" was a live reality, available right then and there, even in the midst of Imperial Rome. The Scripture had been fulfilled in the midst of horrific colonial oppression and occupation.

Jesus didn't set before his hometown a political agenda, a party platform, a get out the vote plan, or a petition and list of demands for Rome. The vision of Isaiah, said Jesus, wasn't something that needed to be accomplished, through revolution or electoral politics. The kingdom already existed.

A few weeks ago I told a group of ACU students in a chapel setting that our anxiety over this election, and today over its results, is directly proportional to our idolatry. By that I mean that I don't think we believe what Jesus preached in Nazareth that day. We remain just as shocked and disbelieving as Jesus' hometown was.

We are convinced that it's up to us to make the kingdom come. That's the idolatry, that it's up to us and our political efforts. That it's up to America, and our political party specifically, to make Jesus' dream come true. But Jesus said, the kingdom is already here, here in the midst of Caesar's and Donald Trump's administration.

Jesus lived for thirty-three years under Rome. God was with us as Caesar sat on the throne.

Yesterday, we thought it was up to us to make the kingdom come. And we are sad and angry because we believe we failed. 

But it never was or is up to us.

The kingdom of God is as here today as it was yesterday.

But like Nazareth, we just don't believe it.

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