Where is our world heading?
Day after day, we can see a lot of conflicts around us. The world seems to be torn apart by conflict, hatred and prejudice. Instead of sitting together for a better solution, people create more problems, more hatreds, more revenge and less opportunity for relationship.
Some find this situation hopeless as the chance for improvement seems to be slim. Can Christianity offer anything in this hopeless situation?
The Torn Apart Israel at Jesus’ Time
Jesus was born into a time when Israel was torn by the unfulfilled promise of God’s salvation. Disagreement between the Sadducees and the Pharisees was nothing new but a fight for their own interest and power. These conflicts only confused Israelites’ path in following God and made people suffered.
And then, Jesus came into the scene, making both parties nervous and uncertain if he was a friend or an enemy.
However, Jesus had a higher way instead of taking side. He brought a better hope into the world, one that was not from the world, but from the Kingdom of God.
Kingdom of God is at Hand
In Matthew 5, Jesus explained how God’s kingdom works and introduced the Kingdom culture. This culture is opposite to the world’s culture.
The Gospel of God’s Kingdom is good news because….
1. We are now blessed for a different reason
The world tells us that the reality works around the rich, the powerful and the influential. You are hopeless if you are poor and trivial. This is one of the motivations some have to climb up the social ladder, and to grab more for themselves by any means.
However, in Matthew 5:3, Jesus said,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Blessing is now seen to be for the poor, who has nothing or at the end of the rope. The hopeless people become hopeful, because of the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Besides for the poor, the blessing is also for those who mourn, the meek and merciful. Instead of trying to be strong, powerful, rich and influential, we go in the opposite direction. We are challenged to be honestly vulnerable, be humble, be merciful and to go after God’s righteousness.
2. God stands up for His Promises
In Matthew 5:3-11, people are always on the receiving end of the promises and blessing. Jesus does not leave it to human to fulfill His promises. He oversees and guarantees His promises to be fulfilled: the poor becoming rich, the weak being strong, and the lowly risen up high.
3. We are blessed to bless
God’s promises are for His Kingdom citizens, who are ready to live out the Kingdom culture, and to be different from the world. Just because we are different, things will get tough. But Jesus promised:
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and
utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (Matthew 5:11)
Therefore, in this hopeless world, be the salt and light of the world, to bring out the taste of Kingdom of God and to bring hope and direction to a world that is dark and lost.
Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works
and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Church is a showcase of Kingdom’s alternative to the World.
Jesus’ calling to His church is be a showcase of Kingdom culture to the world. In doing this, we let the world know that there is an alternative for love, hope and peace.
- When reflecting on how you deal with your life, do you think you are closer to the world’s culture or to the Kingdom culture? Why?
- How can you live differently, in order to be a positive influence to people around you?