“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
“Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
When Jesus arrived, He said that he brought God’s promised kingdom to earth (Luke 17:21). This is the grand story of Scripture, the restorative work of Creator God through the king of this kingdom, Jesus.
So why do nations continue to rage? Why do people of power still plot vain things?
If the human heart fails to take root in the revealed Son and Jesus kingdom ethos, scripture shows us that humanity will continue to adopt and cling to coercive, broken ways of being. The kingdoms of this earth raged before Jesus incarnation, during his life, and even still refuse to bend the knee. Power, rule, control, in a word, sin.
In God’s eternal kingdom, Jesus shows us how true power works. Power is divested, given freely, offered up for the good of our fellow neighbor. As we approach Christmas, we’re reminded that the incarnation itself is a theology of how God considers power as he empties himself mysteriously into his own material flesh. This power, called love, upends worldly social constructs of domination.
The world doesn’t know how to handle the power of empowering love. It’s so intimidated by it, it would rather nail it to a cross, bury it out of sight. The only thing more terrifying than unwieldy power, I believe, is purposeful powerlessness. Willing sacrifice. This type of power is resurrected, and now residing in every believing heart. Those that refuse God’s perfect revelation in Jesus, continue to rage, inwardly and if given the opportunity, outwardly. This is the picture God gives us from the book of Revelation – a continuous, ongoing battle, reverberating through the ages – until Jesus comes to make things right.
What If God’s power, in God’s kingdom, is the antithesis of worldly power? Instead of gathering and protecting it, we’re to follow Jesus pattern and give our time, resources, our selves towards empowering the other? What if the church overcomes by following in Christ’s release of power, rooted in love?
What if love is God?
I take comfort in knowing this pathway, this journey toward deep surrender and sacrifice, is but a reflection of the beauty in the very heart of the Father. God is inviting us, through the Son’s perfect example, to participate in His life. Participation, a verb, an invitation to embody, to follow the pattern of the incarnation and become the virtue, not just memorize or repeat it.
Christianity, I’m convinced, is a revolution; a coming kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. This battle rages in our day, visible and invisible, one heart at a time. Jesus will return, the kingdom will be fully realized, but until then, the nations will rage, power will plot and believers will take refuge in His love, not fear or illusions of safety.
May we become the calm that brought peace to the storm. May we become faith, hope and love as we cling to the hope of his return. Peace is coming, until then, may it illuminate our souls as a beacon to those around us.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.