I find world history and global geopolitics fascinating; it’s what I read about in my free time. And it is because of this that I have a confession to make: I have very little faith in the long term prospects of any empire.
Throughout history, kings have led nations and people groups to the height of power only to have that power vanquished by another king somewhere down the line. It’s a cycle that never ends. Somebody, somewhere is always grasping for more power and they will pursue it through imperial conquest if they have the means.
Ancient Mesopotamia was home to many of these empires. Egypt had multiple runs as the big kid on the block, as did Assyria and Babylon. Asia was also home to many powerful dynasties, including the 13th century Mongolian empire which spread over 20% of the world’s land mass and ruled over 1 out of every 4 people on earth. Then you have the European Empires run by the British, Ottomans, Spaniards, and Russians. And there are a hundred more.
For centuries, the Hebrew people had been holding fast to promises from the Torah about a ruler who would restore the throne to Jerusalem and whose reign would extend to the ends of the earth. And of course, this kingdom would have to be won through the usual methods. We all know the names of Julius Caesar (Rome), Alexander the Great (Greece), Napoleon (France), and Hitler (Germany) – all of which advanced their agenda through conquest. This is the best way to grow your kingdom.
What other way would there be?
Yet when Jesus Christ comes on the scene, He uses a different method. He is not like other kings. He comes not on a horse, but on a donkey. He invites people to follow Him instead of demanding their surrender. What kind of kingdom is this, whose priorities are advanced through humility, sacrifice, love, generosity, invitation? What kind of King gives people a choice about whether or not they submit to Him? Who wins a war with peace?
This is the Kingdom of God. And this is Jesus, our King.
This kingdom has not been built or sustained using the methods of other rulers – nor will it crumble like all the others. This kingdom is different. The coming of this kingdom is in fact “good news”; it is the best news. The expansion of this kingdom isn’t about land or power or resources or ethnicity. This is a kingdom of hearts. It is without borders – and it moves into new territory every day. You can be a part of it, and so can I. And so can ‘they’. This kingdom brings unity to a world full of division. It is led by a good King who speaks identity over all of His citizens. This is the land of the free – because the King laid down His own life to pay our debts.
The Kingdom is here. And it’s not here yet. And it’s coming.