By Russ Ramsey
Jesus came as the perfect, eternal King.
C. S. Lewis called it “the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” It’s that deep longing in us that tells us that this world as we experience it can’t be all there is. There must be something more. Something better. Something right. You feel it, don’t you?
This feeling is God-given and true. As we open this new reading plan exploring the wonder and nature of the kingdom of God, we begin with that longing—a longing for a perfect world, which could not exist without a perfect King.
In most every case in history, the pursuit of a better kingdom has involved finding and crowning a new and better leader. Sometimes this happens through a peaceful transition of power, other times it comes by way of a coup, but throughout the history of the world people have been restless to find a better world.
Here’s how God’s kingdom is different. The goal is not to keep looking for kings who are better than the ones we have now—always searching, always coming up short. In God’s kingdom, the true and perfect King has existed since before the dawn of time. His eternal rule has never been in doubt, and neither have His qualifications. That’s what today’s passages walk through: the story of our Forever King.
During the time of the Judges, when Israel had no official king, they fell into a cycle that inevitably ended in corruption and chaos. So, they asked God for someone to rule over them. God’s plan was to give them not just one king, but a kingly line that would live on forever. The Lord told King David that one would come from his line who would rule for all eternity as a perfect and just King.
Israel longed for this king. But the King God had in mind wasn’t going to be just another man. The King who was coming to them was going to be God too (Matthew 21:5). He would be the Savior born in Bethlehem to the wonder of the shepherds and the exaltation of the angelic host. The King the wise men sought so that they could worship at His feet, and the threat to Herod’s iron fist of control. He would be Isaiah’s Suffering Servant crucified for the iniquities of the people, atoning for their sins through His blood.
Every move Jesus made was to establish the kingdom over which He would reign forever. That’s what the longing in your heart and mine is pining for: an eternally secure and established kingdom, ruled by a perfect, eternal King. And that is what He is doing now. So, read on.
In the first part of this three-week study, we will look to Scripture to better understand Jesus, the King, and the nature of the kingdom of God. Then we’ll spend the remaining two weeks reading about life in the kingdom. Who are its citizens? What are its values, law, and purpose? What does it mean to enter into the kingdom of God while also anticipating it? How does King Jesus call us to live now, in light of who He is and all that is to come?