Understanding the Kingdom
Grand Canyon University: BIB - 351
November 19, 2014
Jesus teaches that the Kingdom of God requires a new lifestyle that is exactly opposite of the one we live in this world. He teaches that repentance from sin and acceptance of Christ as Savior are the only requirements for entrance. Jesus says “I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me” (Luke 22:29, NIV). Our Savior reached out to the broken, the poor, the sick, men, women, and children regardless of where they came from. Paul taught Christ’s message clearly when he said we are all baptized by the Holy Spirit into one united body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). This essay will define and discuss the principle of the Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus in the Gospels, His understanding of the role of the Gentiles, as well as how Jesus prepared the disciples for their roles. Interestingly, the basic meaning of “kingdom” in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek is the same; kingship or sovereignty (Beasley-Murray, 1992, pg. 19). This obviously applies to the English language as well. According to the dictionary kingdom is defined as an organized community having a monarchical government which is headed by a king or queen” (Merriam-webster.com). Additionally when capitalized Kingdom is defined as “the realm in which God’s will is fulfilled” (Merriam-webster.com). Jesus’ teachings fall in line with the second definition in that the Kingdom of God is the fulfillment of God’s promises and the establishment of his rule of righteousness for all of humanity. Stein indicates that some scholars would refer to the Kingdom as the restoration of Israel (Stein, 1996). The expressions “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God” are found eighty-seven times in the Gospels alone but never mentioned in the Old Testament. Mark summarizes Jesus’ message telling followers that the time had come to repent and believe the good news! (Mark 1:15, NIV). The most obvious teaching method that Jesus uses is by example. He hand selected his twelve disciples to “witness his actions and deeds and to master his teachings” (Stein, 1996). His disciples then became “his apostles, ‘ones sent out’ to preach his message and to assist in his healing ministry” (Stein, 1996). The most famous of His teaching methods is the parable, which depending on interpretations there are between fifty-five and seventy-five parables in His teachings. Robert Stein indicates that by teaching in parables Jesus was able to “disarm the listeners”, in other words he was getting his point across before they could dispute what he was saying (Stein, 1996). Parables were also very effective at introducing teachings that could possibly have been dangerous. References the coming Kingdom of God hidden in parables were sufficiently enigmatic to officials of the time thus allowing Him to speak about sensitive issues. Jesus refers directly to this when he says “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand” (Matthew 13: 13, NIV). In addition to his parables there are more than two hundred examples of poetic parallelism in the Gospels. Stein lists fifteen different types including synonymous parallelism, hyperbole, and figurative actions. There are opposing views as to Jesus’ attitude towards the Gentiles. Matthew writes of Jesus explicitly restricting his ministry to the Jewish people. His message is clear: “do not go among the Gentiles” (Matthew 10:5, NIV). The books of Matthew and Acts clearly lay out a ‘Jew first’ strategy. Peter says that Jesus was sent to the Jews first to be blessed and to turn them from their wickedness (Acts 3:26). At first look this is the attitude that was demonstrated by Jesus in His encounter with a Canaanite woman pleading for help for her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28). In the end He praises her for her faith and helps her daughter, either testing her faith or making a public demonstration that faith and...
References: Beasley-Murray, G. R. (1992). The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus. JETS, 35(1), 19- 30.
Definition of kingdom retrieved November 20, 2014 from: http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/kingdom.
Gaston, L. (1975). Messiah of Israel as teacher of the Gentiles: the Setting of Matthew’s Christology. Interpretation, 29(1), 24-40.
Salzmann, A. B. (2009). “Do You Still Not Understand?” Mark 8:21 and the Mission to the Gentiles. Biblical Theology Bulletin, 39(3), 129-134. Doi: 10.1177/0146107909106756.
Siker. J. S. (1992). ‘First to the Gentiles’: A Literary Analysis of Luke 4:16-30. Journal Of Biblical Literature, 111(1), 73.
Stein, Robert H. (1996). Jesus the Messiah: A Survey of the Life of Christ. Illinois: InterVarsity Press.
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