Jesus brought a Kingdom, into which all are invited. Throughout the four gospel books the message is about the gospel of God’s Kingdom. The meaning of the word gospel, itself, is good news. What is good about such news is that, at last the Kingdom of Heaven has been brought on Earth. There is no greater announcement than announcing this news about God’s Kingdom coming on Earth.
This is why, even in our prayer, we are instructed to state the phrase: “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). If all Christians fully understood the principle of this prayer, they would not be talking about going to Heaven, as much as they would desire God’s Kingdom to come, for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
However, the greatest obstacle, besieging humanity, even today, is centered on failure to believe the gospel. Humanity hardly believes in the gospel, let alone the belief in Jesus. But the good news that was announced during Jesus’ appearance is more than any known goodness can describe it.
When Jesus died on the cross, God’s Kingdom was sealed. However, since that time people continue to unnecessarily grope in darkness. They refuse to accept the alternative to the kingdoms of this world. Through the twelve disciples, Jesus sought to establish structures that would establish God’s Kingdom.
The disciples became the foundation of His church, comprising those willing to forsake everything of this world, to adopt the principles of God’s Kingdom. Everyone coming on board becomes a member of that Kingdom. Though still on Earth, a true Christian becomes part of that Kingdom:
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22) (ESV).
There we have it! On accepting Jesus and being baptized, one becomes a fellow citizen with God and His saints. However, I am aware of there being many who would say this is too good to be true, which would be a sign of unbelief, anyway. But God’s Word is as certain as the rising sun tomorrow. In any country, whether a Kingdom or a republic, citizens are accorded privileges which aliens do not have.
Before Jesus’ ascension, the disciples were not yet the citizens of God’s Kingdom, but as long as those disciples remained with the King, they were part of that Kingdom. But Jesus left them with a promise, on condition that they kept His commandments:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” John 14:15-17) (ESV).
This would be the fulfillment of what Jesus had promised earlier on: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going. Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him”’ John 14:1-7) (ESV).
The testimony of the promised Kingdom of God is with true Christians. The rest are still aliens and may not understand, even the nomenclature that is used in God’s Kingdom. In most cases, the problem is that true Christians get mistaken for arrogance, just as Jesus was mistaken for arrogance. Like Thomas, the aliens cannot fully understand what Jesus was talking about.
Remember, the inquisitiveness of Thomas was driven by the fact that those disciples had not yet received the promised comforter, the Holy Spirit. But Jesus revealed that anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father. Jesus, speaking in His capacity as our brother and Son of God, could not do anything, not reflecting His Father’s will.
However, let me clear some causes of misunderstanding, right here… Jesus was the Son of God, just as all Christians become sons of God at conversion and baptism. But Jesus was Emmanuel, meaning: “God with us.” I suppose the prophet Isaiah is clear in revealing Jesus:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Isaiah 9:6-7) (ESV).
Before reverting to the theme of Jesus in John 14, let us clear any misunderstanding of Isaiah’s prophecy, shown above; by first attending to the following four points:
There is significance in describing a child that is born, as compared with a Son that is given. Notice that a child is born, but a Son is not born, but given. The child that is born is different from the Son that is given.
The same child’s or Son’s name is descriptive of what we all understand as being our Father in Heaven. In other words, you cannot separate Jesus from the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father from the God of Israel, as described in Deuteronomy 6:4.
The last portion of the passage states that “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” But, which Lord is being mentioned here? The Kingdom principle does not allow two Lords. Jesus made it very clear, that He is the Alpha and Omega (The beginning and the end) (Revelation 22:13).
But why then, did Jesus call Himself the Son of the Living God? Here is the clearing of a misunderstanding that has dogged Christians, since the Nicean Council of AD 325. Jesus was God with us (Emmanuel); but a child born to us. As a child born to us, Jesus represents us in everything, including His defeat of the devil (Matthew 4:4-11), right up to the time when He cried “Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani” which means “MY God My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). These words are coming from a child born to us and representing us in that agony. Jesus, as a child born to us, became the only begotten Son, because at His time, not a single human being had qualified to be the Son of God. But by accepting Him as our personal Savior, we become God’s children, after receiving the Holy Spirit. [See Why the doctrine of Trinity is questioned]