As Christians we operate at the 30 foot view a lot of the time. As a result, it is possible for a variety of individuals to read the exact same scripture and interpret it differently. I believe this is one of the reasons why we have so many different denominations within Christianity. if we don’t have an overarching understanding of the larger narrative (or 30,000 foot view) of what God is doing in history then we will always continue to operate at the 30 foot view and disagree as to how to view who Jesus was, what he was trying to do, and how we are to be as his followers.
If we view the larger narrative of history from the perspective that God is in the process of restoring all of His good creation then that might be a good start for us to begin understanding how Jesus fits into that, what our role is, and our future hope.
We know that when God created…everything was good. His intention was for there to be shalom (peace, wholeness, unity, love, community, creativity). It was not God’s intention for there to be death, decay, corruption, or hatred in His created order. We know from Scripture that Satan is the god of this age and of the Kingdoms of the world (ephesians 2:2, luke 4:5-6, john 12:31, colossians 1:13, 1 john 5:19, 2 corinthians 4:4).
Satan has been given dominion and control of the Kingdoms of the world and it has been subjected to a curse of death and decay. Creation groans (and we inwardly groan) for liberation from the curse. Yes…ALL of creation is groaning…awaiting a time when freedom, justice, and restoration will come. A time when the old order will pass away and the new order will come (revelation 21:1-4).
How does this new order come? God manifested in human form in Jesus. It was God invading the kingdom of the world and bringing a new order, the Kingdom of God. Jesus broke into our time/space reality and initiated the Kingdom of God. That is why he talked about it so much. Jesus said in luke 4:43 that the reason he came was to “preach the Kingdom of God.” He came to announce that a new order has come, that freedom…liberation…hope…love are the characteristics of his Kingdom. He spent his time talking to people in parables and demonstrating what the Kingdom of God looks like in flesh. And he demonstrated through the Resurrection that death does not have the final say.
The Kingdom of God has broken into history to destroy the works of Satan and to reclaim what is rightfully God’s. We, as his children, pillage and plunder by taking everything back for heaven. We are bringers of heaven on earth. We are the first fruits of new creation. We are the embodiment of the new covenant. We are ministers of reconciliation. We are the body of Christ in the world. We look, act, behave like Jesus in any and all situations…and work to expand His Kingdom right now. We begin living in the present as we will in the future bringing justice and peace in the world in any and all situations..
Today we prepare for the great wedding between the bride and the bridegroom. We prepare for the marriage of heaven and earth. We patiently and eagerly await the consummation of all things and the birth of new creation. We prepare this place for his entry. That is what we work for. That is what we hope for.
Revelation 11:15 says that, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ. He will rule for ever and ever.” Christ will once and for all make all things new again. No longer will death have a sting. He will wipe away every tear from every eye. The lion will lie with the lamb. God will be with man and we will be His people.