Monday, February 07, 2005

Kingdom Christianity per Mark

Matthew | Luke | John | Acts | King | Ethic | Subjects

None of Matthew's "kingdom of heaven" euphemisms for young John Mark! He'll go ahead and risk the wrath of his fellow Jews by calling it what it is: the "kingdom of God."

But I find his description of Jesus' words about the kingdom consistent.

To be a part of that kingdom, I must:

People have debated for centuries whether Jesus really intended to found a church, and how much it overlaps His kingdom.

When I looked at Matthew's references, I took it personally. (Jesse's mom made an observation that put it in perspective!)

But - without accusing or lauding - I tried to look at Mark's references for that overlap. Does the church bear out the vision of the kingdom that Jesus describes?

The answer is probably "yes and no."

I just wonder how I would react if Jesus came like the thief in the Jack Benny sketch and, instead of demanding "Your money or your life!", asked:

"The kingdom or the church?"

Would I stand there like Jack's skinflint persona, one hand cradling the elbow attached to the hand where my chin is resting ponderously ... finally answering: "I'm thinking it over!"?

I want to object to the question; I want to say there couldn't be such a choice; it's not valid to ask. Yet I look over John Mark's bullet points as I'm pecking away at this keyboard and ...

I'm thinking it over.

3 comments:

Fajita said...

The church serves the kingdom. The kingdom IS, whether or not there is a church. When Jesus said that, "The kingdom is at hand,", and "you are not far from the kingdom," I don't think he meant, "Dude, just wait until the church shows up, then things will get really jinky."

OK, I know he didn't say jinky, nor did he say jiggy. But I think the church serves the kingdom. It should be that way. Just as rationality serves faith, so too does the church serve the kingdom. I think he was saying something like, "This experience you are having, that feeling in your heart, the one you cannot deny, it is telling you something. These miracles, this faith you are compelled to search out means you are in the midst of an invisibile Kingdom. You are standing inside its wall. Even though the normal traffic comes and goes like any other day in this village, you stand on the property of a kingdom of wonders. It is not a place of brick and mortar, it is not even made of flesh and blood. It is a spiritual places that breaks into the physical world. It moves from heart to heart, from soul to soul. Let the eyes of your heart open and you will see. This is what the law and the prophets ahve been saying all along. "

I'm no great translator. What am I saying? I only speak one language. But I think when Jesus talked about the Kingdom, people walked away with a heightened expectancy of something great.

Brian Burkett said...

Keith,

I have tried to contact you from two e-mail addresses, and I don't think either of them are getting through. I know that the one from esau911@juno.com was bounced back to me, and it seems that it was thought to be spam by your server.

I don't think the one from brian@newlife-church.net has gotten through either. I have actually tried to e-mail you a couple of times from that address.

How can I contact you, my brother?

Brian

David U said...

That whole "kingdom" and "church" discussion really baffles me at times. I am convinced that they are not synonymous......duh! That is about as deep as I can get into that whole arena. Us tadpoles can't get in there and swim with the sharks! :)

God bless, and thanks again for making us put on our thinking caps.

DU