Jesus and the Kingdom of God

In twentieth century scholarship, there was a classic debate between the positions represented by Albert Schweitzer and C.H. Dodd over whether the emphasis of Jesus’ eschatological views was on the future or the present or whether there is an already-not yet tension in Jesus’ sayings on the coming of God’s kingdom (Werner Kümmel)?  Eventually scholars became divided between those who view Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet among other categories (Geza Vermes, E.P. Sanders,  Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Paula FredriksenJohn P. Meier, Dale Allison, Bart Ehrman, Gerd Lüdemann, Maurice Casey, N.T. Wright [?]) or as a non-eschatological social reformer or sage (John Dominic Crossan, Robert Funk, Marcus Borg, Burton Mack, Stephen Patterson, Ron Cameron, collectively Jesus Seminar, Richard Horsley [?]).  Read the following verses; what you think is meant by the phrase “kingdom of God” (=”heaven” in Matthew).

Jesus and the Kingdom of God #1

He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’ (Mark 4:30-32; see also Ezek 17:23; 31:16; Dan 4:10-12.)

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matthew 5:3); Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6:20)

From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven forcefully advances, and men of violence take it by force.  For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John (Matt 11:12-13); The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the Kingdom of God is preached, and every one enters it violently. (Luke 16:16)

Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you’ (Luke 17:20-21); His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?” “It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’ Rather, the Father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don’t see it” (Gospel of Thomas 113)

But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matthew 12:28); But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you (Luke 11:20)

The disciples of John reported to him about all these things. Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for someone else?” When the men came to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, to ask, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for someone else?'” At that very time he cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and he gave sight to many who were blind. And he answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news proclaimed to them (Isa 26:19; 29:18-19; 35:5-6; 42:7, 18; 61:1). Blessed is he who does not take offense at me.” (Luke 7:8-23; see also Matthew 11:2-6)

Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ (Mark 10:15); Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above… Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:3, 5)

Jesus and the Kingdom of God #2

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has drawn near; repent, and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:14-15)

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:48)

And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’ (Mark 9:1)

[After healing the centurion’s servant] I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 8:11)

When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 11:30)

‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first. (Matthew 19:28-30); I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:29-30)

Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.  From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he [or “it”] is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place… ‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mark 13:26-32)

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.’ (Mark 14:25)

About these ads

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 105 other followers

%d bloggers like this: