In a world that is so torn apart by war, oppression, poverty and more, it is hard to believe that there was a time when it knew peace. It is hard to think that this same world that is characterized by power-grabbing, division, and hatred in this present day and age once enjoyed unadulterated love, harmony and giving for completely altruistic motives. Although we would never know it simply by looking at the things that are going on in societies across the world today, once upon a time this place that we call earth was completely whole and pure.
And then something happened. Nothing has been the same since.
The Bible tells us in Genesis 3, that once Adam and Eve disobeyed God, everything that we knew to be true changed. All of a sudden, blame, shame, guilt, and despondency characterized our existence. For the very first time, man turned against himself, his God, his wife, and his land, which has left an enduring mark of horror upon the world.
The good news is that God provides a remedy to this new norm in his son Jesus Christ. Through Christ, all of humanity and the entire earth are in the process of being reconciled back to God. Our relationship with God is being put back in order as is our relationship with one another. As a result, we can now get a glimpse of the peace that was known in the Garden of Eden. A glimpse. The reality is that Christ’s sacrifice jumpstarted this renewal but it won’t be fully realized until His return which will bring about the completion of what He started on the cross.
Understanding that we are living at this point of tension between the already and not yet components of the gospel, we must ask ourselves what we are supposed to do. How are we supposed to live in light of what Christ did in the past and what He will do in the future?
We pray what Jesus instructed His disciples in Matthew 6:9, 10 – “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” According to this prayer, our focus as believers should be on the bringing of God’s kingdom to earth. In this kingdom tears of sorrow will be replaced with tears of joy, curses will be replaced with blessings, death will be replaced with life, and brokenness will be replaced with the healing of the nations. No longer will people be at odds with one another and despise others on account of their race, ethnicity, or gender. No longer will people fight over resources or jostle for position. At last, we will be whole. At last we will fully and completely known by God and reign with Him for eternity. (See Revelations 21 and 22).
In directing His disciple’s attention toward this prayer, Jesus didn’t only want them to pray about the coming of God’s kingdom. He wanted them to be active participants in bringing it to fruition. And so he spent His earthly life showing them what that looked like by preaching the good news, healing the sick, feeding the poor, comforting the downtrodden, forgiving the sinner, and welcoming the outcast.
Jesus’ life served as an example for the disciples but it continues to speak to us in the 21st century. In the power of the Spirit, we are now able to be partakers in His quest to bring the kingdom of God to this broken world. In fact, the Bible says that in the power of the Spirit we are able to do even more than Christ did. We are fully capable ministers of reconciliation. What we need to do now is reclaim our calling – a calling that encompasses the life of every believer not just clergy – and step into our destiny.