Gardendale Nazarene

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Kingdom Reversal | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene

Kingdom Reversal

Today, I would like to continue a thought from last week. I brought up an issue, that I believe is worth pursuing. The issue is this- When talking about the Kingdom of God, why is there usually a reversal of the current system?

Let me give you a few verses from Luke to illustrate (the first two are from last week’s devotional):

“He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.” (Luke 1:51-53 ESV)

“…he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.” (Luke 12:37b ESV)

“And he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.’” (Luke 22:25-27 ESV)

These are just three passages and there are countless passages throughout the Gospels. Why do these stories point us to a reversal of power structures? What does this have to do with the Kingdom of God?

Mennonite author, Donald Kraybill, calls this reversal “The Upside-down Kingdom.” He argues three main points for this upside-down nature of the Kingdom.

First, we live in a social word and society has an ever-changing topography. There are powerful who are high on the mountain and the weak who continually find themselves in the valleys. Jesus reminds us His Father does not see people in this light.

Second, we forget how much we are taught about the world. As children, we are quickly taught what we are to say and how we are to act. Hang around a child for very long and he or she will break a social rule- most of the time it is rather humorous. Then you will hear mom say, “You can’t say that.”

We assume the way things are is the way they ought to be.

All throughout the story of Jesus, He is breaking these rules.
Don’t heal on the Sabbath.
Don’t touch a leper.
Don’t eat with tax collectors or prostitutes.

The Kingdom of God doesn’t play by our accepted rules.

Third (I really love this one!), the Kingdom is full of surprises. Think about it. Many of us are so used to the stories in the Gospels, we have lost their sense of surprise.

The Samaritan is the good guy.
The Prodigal comes home to a party.
Jarius' daughter sits up.
The demoniac goes home to tell his story.
Four thousand people are fed with seven loaves and a few fish.

Okay, I know you get the point, but one more, please…
A virgin and her husband in a small cave that houses animals
The cry of a newborn

This is the upside-down kingdom. A Kingdom that has come to remind us that there is more to life than our social structures. A Kingdom that reminds us that there is a King and He has come to be Emmanuel, God with Us.

A surprise that can only be rivaled by an empty tomb on a Sunday morning.

Thanks be to God!