People from every nation will share in Jesus’s kingdom inheritance and mission.
If there’s one thing at which humanity excels, it’s drawing boundary lines. I remember playing a game with my friends, where we’d imagine traveling to a far-off country by spinning a globe and stopping it with a finger; wherever our finger landed would become our imaginary destination. However, the problem with that game was this: more than half of the time, we would hit a boundary line, because there are just so many in our world.
Of course, we know that these boundaries are more than just ink on a page. Many wars were fought over these lines. Think of all the paperwork it takes to travel or trade across borders. They represent a deep division in history, culture, and identity.
The first Christians knew well the divisions caused by boundary lines. Even though their world was dominated by a pressing national identity, the unity that came from the Roman Empire was only as good as the military that maintained it. And yet, these early followers held to and were motivated by the vision of a people perfectly united, where people from every nation saw themselves as part of one family—citizens of one kingdom.
At the center of this vision is the reconciling work of Jesus the Christ. Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s agenda to mend the discord between the nations, as the apostle Paul writes, “[God] made known to us the mystery of his will… to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him” (Ephesians 1:9–10). But how does Jesus bring the nations together when nothing else has? Scripture gives us two images by way of answer: the cross and the throne.
In Ephesians 2, Paul addresses divisions between the Jewish people and the Gentiles, an estrangement that had a long and sorrowful history. The apostle declares that Jesus had put their hostility to bed in His death on the cross when He brought both back into right relationship with God. By virtue of Christ’s death, these formerly warring factions were made “fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:19). In essence, Paul is saying, “On the cross, Jesus made you family! You share one blood now, and it’s Christ’s.”
We get another image in Revelation 5, this time of the throne room of God. Standing at the throne of creation is Jesus, the Lion and the Lamb. He is the true King of the world and all its nations, languages, ethnicities, and cultures. The attendants around the throne burst into song, singing, “You purchased people for God by your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9–10). The nations are brought together in God’s kingdom as they bend their knee, hand-in-hand, before the Lord of creation.
What a compelling vision! The one who hung from the cross now sits on the throne, and in His kingdom all the nations of the earth are blessed. Lord, your kingdom come!