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]
To simplify the understanding of this analysis, we have to appreciate that Jesus is our representative. When looking at Jesus we are seeing one of our fellows, who defeated Satan on our behalf. He also defeated death that was not only hanging above all of us, but also embroiled us into its captivity. Without Jesus, there was no way we could have defeated death. Without Jesus, there was no way the Kingdom of Heaven could be associated with us.
The promise of the Holy Spirit in John 14:15-16, guarantees our reconciliation with God. We lost our relationship with God after Adam had eaten the forbidden tree. It was at that time that God pronounced death, being a result of consuming the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:17). The pronounced death meant that the Man, created in God’s image was separated from God (Genesis 3:22-24).
The tree of knowledge of good and evil meant that from then on, humans would engage in pursuing knowledge without God’s input. All of us, as human beings, acquire knowledge that makes us conclude issues erroneously; as lacking true knowledge from our Creator. This is why in Proverbs we are warned: There is a way that appears right, but the end thereof is death (Proverbs 16:25).
While the rest of humanity’s hope ought to be in the second-coming of Jesus, true Christians enjoy a good relationship with their Father. Each of those Christians is able to duplicate the words of Jesus: “Anyone who has seen me has seen my Father” (John 14:9).
When Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:12-14) (ESV). Here Jesus was not referring to people engrossed in desperation. True Christians make a difference in a world of hopelessness. They understand the things of the Kingdom, just as Christ understood them.
Here is an undisputable promise of Jesus: “Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death” (John 8:51) (ESV). Of course, this is confusing to aliens of God’s Kingdom. But, true Christians know very well that a human being is spirit, living in a physical body. Anyone can terminate my physical body, whichever way, if God allows it. But my body is not me. My body could be blown up in a landmine, or any other way, but as God’s child, I would be as safe as in God’s hands.
On becoming a Christian, I became God’s Child, just as Jesus was God’s Son, even still in His physical body, when talking to those disciples. The issue of Christianity is as easy as understanding and doing everything that Jesus taught. When Jesus Declared: “I am the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6), He did not mean sharing that declaration with anyone, including Paul and the rest of the original Apostles. Ours is as easy as following and doing everything that Jesus taught.
Let alone, those acquiring leadership positions, even in our time, yet Jesus taught against that (Matthew 23:8-12). True Christians are with their Father and they enjoy their relationship with their brother, born to us (as human as we all are), but now sitting on the right hand side of God. To the majority of those calling themselves Christians, please hear the words of Jesus:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20) (ESV). Having opened up to allow Jesus in one’s life, which other heaven would a person look for?
The discomfort experienced in physical bodies cannot overcome the joy of knowing Christ who is constantly knocking at the door, expecting someone to allow Him in. When Paul said he was torn between two opinions, either leaving his body and be with the Lord, or remaining in the same body, his preference was to leave (Philippians 1:23).
Those Christians, still desiring to remain in physical bodies, may have still not understood the reality and significance of Jesus Christ. They would be no different from Jesus’ disciples who caused Him to constantly repeat: “You of little faith!”, (Matthew 8:26, 14:31, 16:8).
It is not possible to apply the things that Jesus taught, without first connecting with His Kingdom. You have to first connect with God’s Kingdom and think like Jesus, to understand what Jesus taught. Otherwise, what Jesus taught is alien to ordinary humans of this world. For instance, those of this world think in terms of amassing material things and suppose that to be a sign of connecting with God’s Kingdom. But true Christians do not necessarily focus on amassing material wealth, which to them is as common as wealth is common in God’s Kingdom. [see here]
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99