The Kingdom of God: Preached by Jesus...Forgotten by Us

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It makes no sense. But we must be fair here. What Jesus said about the Son of Man was utterly unexpected.


It seemed completely backwards to Peter and the other disciples. The glorious one to be humiliated? The healer to undergo great suffering? The king of the Jews to be rejected by the Jewish leaders? Given how hard it is for us to grasp the radical and apparently ridiculous nature of what Jesus said about the suffering Son of Man, let me offer the following hypothetical story. The Republican race is wide open right now.

What Does the Bible Say About Jesus And The Poor?

And, to be clear, I am not using Mr. Paul as an example in order to sneak in an endorsement. Now, when the election starts going hot and heavy, the candidates would, of course, pummel each other with words even as they endlessly boast of their own accomplishments. The best thing for the country will be doing everything we can to help Ron Paul get elected. Obama needs some serious rest, or perhaps electroshock therapy? He will bring the kingdom of God, to be sure, but only through suffering and dying. This is how the kingdom will come.

But this answer begs another question: How will the death of Jesus be a pathway for the coming of the kingdom of God? In my last post in this series , I examined the passage in Mark 8 where Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah Mark But, when Jesus starting talking about the Son of Man suffering and dying, Peter rebuked Jesus, who in turn rebuked Peter for thinking in human, not divine terms Peter, like most of his Jewish compatriots, expected the kingdom of God to come in power.

Two chapters later in Mark, Jesus once again informed his closest followers that he, as Son of Man, was going to be assaulted and killed Jesus responded by asking James and John if they were able to drink the cup that he drinks, and then by informing them that it was not his job to decide who gets to sit at his right or left hand The idea of the cup Jesus drinks deserves further attention, and will be the subject of my next post in this series.

When the other disciples heard what James and John were plotting, they became angry, presumably because they wanted to sit by Jesus in his glory. Jesus proceeded to rebuke the whole lot of them:. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many. The attitudes exhibited by James and John, and the rest of the disciples for that matter, are inconsistent with the way of Jesus, which leads to greatness but only through servanthood.

The prime illustration of this paradox? Here, for the first time, Jesus supplies a hint as to the reason for his imminent death. The Maccabean brothers were to fight to the death for the sake of their faith. Here, the willingness of Jewish people to suffer and die rather than compromise their faithfulness to God is seen as making up for the sin of the Jewish people, which in turn motivated God to preserve the nation.

He was despised and rejected by others a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases;. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him as the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many,.

Through his painful death, the Servant of God bears the sins of others. Jesus is weaving together disparate strands of Jewish tradition to create a unique tapestry of the coming kingdom.

Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom - Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj

He, as Messiah and Son of Man, will bring the kingdom, but only by fulfilling the role of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? What is Jesus talking about? In Psalm 75, for example, we read:. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed; he will pour a draught from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.

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Psalm Or, take the following passage from Isaiah, which appears shortly before the description of the suffering servant in chapters Rouse yourself, rouse yourself! Stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl of staggering.

Isa Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. They shall drink and stagger and go out of their minds because of the sword that I am sending among them. Jer So when Jesus speaks to James and John of drinking from the cup, he is once again using the language of the prophets. But Jesus redefines this mission. He will drink deeply of the cup of divine wrath, even dying so that others may live. Jesus will be killed, not only because of opposition from Jewish and Roman leaders in Jerusalem, but also, on a deeper level, because he is going to drink the cup of divine wrath.

He is going to bear the sin of Israel, indeed, as we learn later on, the sin of the world. This is his unique and unexpected calling as Messiah and Son of Man. Jesus will drink the cup, bearing this judgment by suffering and dying.

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This, he believes, is part and parcel of his messianic calling, and necessary if the kingdom of God is to come in its fullness. In the Gospel of Mark, this final meal occurs on the occasion of the Passover, the great Jewish feast that commemorates the Exodus, when God delivered the Jews from bondage in Egypt.

Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. Jesus, as host, is directing the meal, when he makes a most unexpected pair of assertions. Yet this is more or less like what Jesus was doing with the Passover. Either he was struck by a fit of megalomania, or he was somehow telling the startling truth of his life and mission.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!


Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.

Zech Even as God once saved his people from slavery in Egypt, so God is now saving his people from slavery to sin through me. Even as the first covenant was sealed with sacrificial blood, so the new covenant will be sealed through my blood, poured out for many. I am choosing the way of death, Jesus says, so that the new life of the new covenant may come.

Though Jesus is about to die as a ransom for many, he has hope of a new day, when the kingdom will come and there will be a grand messianic banquet. Yet before this happens, Jesus must fulfill his unique calling by offering his body and blood for salvation. In my last post , I wrapped up an extended answer to the question: How is the kingdom of God coming? Jesus envisioned his role as Messiah — though he preferred the enigmatic title, Son of Man — as leading to his death in Jerusalem.

During his last meal with his disciples, Jesus symbolized his death by recasting the imagery of the Passover meal to focus on himself and his sacrifice. But, you might wonder, why would this sense of his calling get Jesus crucified?

Jesus Now: Unveiling the Present-Day Ministry of Christ

Surely what Jesus thought about his future was odd and unexpected, and quite disconcerting to some Jewish leaders, but was it a reason to have him put to death? In our effort to understand how the message of Jesus led to his crucifixion, we seem to be missing a crucial piece of the puzzle. And, indeed, we are. No doubt many of those who welcomed Jesus with their hosannas expected him to go to the Temple, the center of Jewish life and faith, and announce the beginning of the end of Roman rule over Judea.

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  5. But when Jesus entered the Temple, not only did he not do what was expected, but, once more, he did something utterly unexpected and, I might add, unappreciated. As Mark tells the story,. By using this passage, Jesus not only inferred that the temple authorities were dishonest thieves, but also that God was about to judge the temple and destroy it. Not exactly a way to win friends and influence people among the Jerusalem priesthood. Jesus was not the only Jew in his day to criticize the Temple. Many of the common folk despised its heavy taxation and financial corruptness, while the Essenes from Qumran wrote it off completely as spiritually bankrupt.

    Moreover, he explicitly undermined the authority of the entrenched temple hierarchy. A prophetic rabble-rouser in Galilee could be ignored; one who defamed the temple itself needed to be dispatched quickly. The problem for the authorities, however, was the widespread popularity of Jesus. Now if they could only get the Romans to crucify Jesus. Rather, it was the logical conclusion to his proclamation of the kingdom of God — a kingdom in which forgiveness comes from Jesus directly, without the mediation of temple, priest, or sacrifice.