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What did Jesus mean by the Kingdom or rule of God?

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Introduction

Student Number 0302062 Year 1 CCRS The Person Of Christ What did Jesus mean by the Kingdom or rule of God? The Kingdom of God- a semantic problem. Interpretation and understanding of the term 'The Kingdom of God' has been tainted by human worldly experiences and also the history of the Jews- an often oppressed people living in a hostile environment. Whilst the Old Testament talks of 'God's Love' ( e.g Psalm 26:3), the real world experience of Kingdoms and Rulers led many to misinterpret the phrase and to presume it referred directly to territorial and actively ruled physical kingdom in the political and military sense. In that sense it was a Kingdom of the future, possibly in another place- a kingdom that many waited for. As we shall see, when Jesus referred to 'The Kingdom of God' he was not talking about a temporal territory but as Hill says " the prevailing presence of God's loving power." The treasure of God's love had a past, present and future element to it- it was more a way of life than a place to live. Historical context It is easy to understand how the wandering tribe of Israel could see the promised kingdom as a protected land- politically and physically guarded from their foes. ...read more.

Middle

They show that God's love and compassion can be active in our daily lives- not in some yet unknown place. They show that God's kingdom is for this earth even if it is not of this earth. This insistence that the kingdom was the experience of God's love together with showing and feeling God's compassion and care was a very difficult thing for the established within Jewish society to take. It was a direct challenge to the Pharisees notion of closeness to God through rituals such as cleansing, a dismissal of the Essenes belief that they should opt out of society to wait and directly contrary to the concept of a need for violent revolution. What did Jesus mean? When would the Kingdom be? In Luke 17:21 Jesus answers this very question when it is posed by the Pharisees by saying, 'The Kingdom of God does not come from your careful observance......because the Kingdom of God is within you.' Jesus was telling them that they could be a part of this Kingdom through their love and compassion- it was within them, available then and in the future. They were not to wait but to change and hear the good news. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Parable of the Lost (prodigal) Son [ Luke 15:11-32] showed the astounding love of God for his children. This generous fatherly love, forgiving past misdemeanours and celebrating his son's return shows a merciful and giving Kingdom ( and therefore God). The Parable of the Good Samaritan combines both concepts of the antiestablishment inclusive nature of the Kingdom and the great kindness and mercy. Finally Jesus taught how that the Kingdom of God must involve a closeness with God, a personal relationship and experience of God. He taught by his example, encouraging others to partake in this relationship with the one he referred to as 'Abba.' Conclusion The image of God's Kingdom and therefore God given to us by Jesus was very different from the accepted beliefs of his day. Jesus stressed the fact that God's love had a place in our world in the present- yet also that we could look forward to even better times. He showed that human actions could display God's love, forgiveness and compassion. God's love was within everyone if they accepted the Good News. Beyond this, he changed the very nature of our understanding of God. The picture of a vengeful and angry God was challenged in favour of a loving, forgiving and inclusive God. ...read more.

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