Continuing on from my recent post ” a parable: the murder of the farm owner’s son ” investigating the crime scene. So the owner, ( God ), sends his son, ( Jesus ) into the midst of the vineyard, ( creation ) to confront the tenants ( humanity ) about the fruit ( the fullness of the Kingdom ) the tenants have produced.
In the reality of what the Kingdom should be, where the fruit that is produced by the vineyard produces abundant life for ” everyone “, Jesus heart is moved with compassion to those who are left with little or nothing. He lives and moves among those oppressed, the sick, the blind and lame…those left to fend for themselves because of the systemic sin and corruption that infests and infects the institutions ( political, economic and religious ) that manage the distribution of things that sustain life…including God.
Jesus is consumed about the redemption and restoration of the Kingdom…what life would be like if God was King.
Every revolutionary needs a manifesto and Jesus proclaims his from the get-go. From a hillside surrounded by his followers, by waves of on-lookers they will hear words of shock and awe. It was as if Jesus was pushing the ” reset ” button on the operating software to human living.
These words…sent life as the status quo to a screeching halt.
From here Jesus moves into the midst of life, absolutely every moment of Jesus life is about the Kingdom and its fruit. But this is not the violent revolution that his followers, and many of the on-lookers expect. Even early on Jesus’ cousin John, arrested for his part in clearing the road, and leveling the ground for Jesus’ Kingdom revolution…has huge concerns as to the effectiveness of this Kingdom revolution.
When he got wind of what Jesus was doing, he sent his own disciples to ask, “Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting?” Jesus told them, “Go back and tell John what’s going on:
The blind see,
The lame walk,
Lepers are cleansed,
The deaf hear,
The dead are raised,
The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.
“Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves most blessed!”
But, it continues, Jesus life is a parabolic reality of the Kingdom. Every where he goes it is the Kingdom rubbing up against the world…it is the startling subversive truth of an alternative world of profound justice and grace where there is abundant life for ” all.” At the same time it is the authority of the Kingdom clashing with rulers of the worldly empire, and the franchise owners of God. It is here in the underbelly, in the shadows and dark corners where Paul talks about the principalities and powers of darkness where the systemic sin festers like puss in a deep infected wound. It’s here something devious, a murderous plot is starting to hatch.
The reality of the Kingdom is not a new trend, a buzz word to get people fired up for a few days only to fade away. The prophets of past days always arrived in the midst of humanity to re-boot the hard drive from which they operate life.
“The Lord is exalted”, proclaims Isaiah. ” He dwells on high; he filled Zion with justice and righteousness.” ( 33:5 )
” I am the Lord ” announces Jeremiah in the name of God. ” I act with steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight.” ( 9:24 )
Again Isaiah, ” Is such the fast I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and lie is a sack cloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this fast that I choose; to break the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? ( 58:5-7 )
From Micah, ” He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. ( 6:6-8 )
Lastly from Amos, ” I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. ( 5:21-24 )
Could it be God, sends his son as humanity’s last chance. At the game of life, God throws in all his chips to send his Son to finally reveal, and show humanity to live out the fullness of humanity in the Kingdom of God ? We see this all through the parables in the gospels. Jesus passion is his Fathers passion…the voice of the prophets passion…the Kingdom of God.
Could it be the same principalities and powers of darkness that have always roamed the earth, corrupted the empire of the day to inflict injustice, oppression…a life void of the abundant and just life that comes from being plugged into God ? Could it be the empire deceived by the principalities and powers of darkness accused Jesus…and murdered Jesus ?
Could it be not so much a sacrifice for sin…but a horrid murder by the principalities and powers of darkness ?
Could it be on the cross, the principalities and powers of darkness were high-fiving each other that they had finally defeated the Kingdom of God. That now they would control the mind and imagination of humanity…this would be the new world order ?
Could it be Miraculously, God smashed his fist on the ” reset ” button of evolving creation and said ” Hell No!” and in the pursuing after shocks the stone rolled away…and God resurrected Jesus and the Kingdom. The principalities and powers of darkness were finally conquered ?
So, I think belief for me, moves me into the profound mystery of the cross, that Jesus did conquer death and evil ( the principalities and powers of darkness ) , and by faith, I move into the resurrection, I move into the radical scandalous life and teaching of Jesus found in the gospels. Through the spirit of God, that profound mystery is embedded in my DNA. It is no longer I that lives, but Jesus with in me.
Here plugged into this new life, the new creation, the kingdom of God…he calls me, and humanity to be collaborators with him building his Kingdom now…and at the same time pointing to when the fullness of his Kingdom will come into being.
It’s almost as if it is that answering of those profound words in Jesus prayer, ” Father, may your Kingdom come, on earth as in heaven.” It is the profound redemptive mystery of God and humanity emerging into one.