Kingdom Metaphors for the Christian Life

The Son of God and the Son of Man from David’s lineage would establish a kingdom over which He would reign forever.

The social mores of our society anchored in materialism, sexual immorality, intellectual elitism, self-centered pride, postmodern cynicism, idolatry, and atheism remind us that we are indeed aliens whose citizenship is in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. We are humbled as we were once willing participants in that ungodly culture, having been rescued only by the grace of God. We are compelled by that grace to be ambassadors who bring the light of the gospel into the darkness.

 

Jesus had just been baptized, and a glorious baptism it was. “The heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased’ ” (Luke 3:21–22). Immediately, this second Adam was led into the wilderness to fast and to contend with Satan himself. The first Adam had failed in the garden, and this new Adam, the Messiah King from glory, would take up the battle in the desert.

There in the wilderness was Satan, in all of his splendor and power, coming to test the incarnate Son from heaven.

And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” (Luke 4:5–7)

In one panoramic instant, Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. “Jesus, You want to rule these empires. I will give them to You. Do it my way, Jesus; it is easier. There’s no need for conflict. Just bow down to me.”

Satan is not omniscient. He did not know the details of God’s plan. The Son of God and the Son of Man from David’s lineage would establish a kingdom over which He would reign forever. Make no mistake—this Messiah to whom Satan offered the kingdoms of this world was indeed about a kingdom—His kingdom. After rejecting Satan’s offer, how did He begin His preaching? “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

Now, fast-forward to Rome some thirty years later. Rome was the epicenter of the world. This was certainly one of the empires that Satan had laid before Jesus. The Apostle Peter was writing from this new Babylon to the churches he held dear. He reminded them that they were “a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9). Peter saw individual churches in specific provinces, towns, and cities. But he also saw these followers of Jesus as one nation, as a kingdom. Where did he get that? Jesus taught him. Peter had heard this from Jesus over and over again. We see it on every page of the Gospels. Among the kingdoms of the world, there was a new kingdom. It was a kingdom whose beginning was in another realm, not of this world. The King of this kingdom was the Son of God incarnate. This kingdom had its origin in the glory of eternity.

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