“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’”
These are the first words of Jesus in the gospel of Mark. He went into Galilee, and for all to hear, announced the good news for the first time. The moment has come. The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe. It’s not surprising that this was the message He chose to share first. The Kingdom of God is mentioned over 100 times throughout the gospels. Clearly it’s important. But fast forward to today, and many of us don’t understand, let alone think often about the Kingdom of God. Does it just mean heaven? Is it on Earth somewhere?
I have good news: the Kingdom of God is here! In Luke 20:14-15, Jesus says “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” The Kingdom of God is not a place on Earth, it’s the entire citizenry of the Church, the body of Christ, the millions of believers past, present, and future who claim the salvation of Jesus Christ. And if you have believed, the Kingdom of God is in your midst, within your very being.
We must not go through life thinking of ourselves first as American, Canadian, British, Mexican, Russian, German, Indian, Pilipino, etc. We must understand that if we belong to God through Christ, then we are citizens first of His Kingdom. Our allegiance is not to any nationality, but to the Kingdom of God and to the citizens of that Kingdom. As it says in Ephesians 2:19-20, “You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”
Many of us take comfort in our worldly citizenship, especially in powerful countries like the US. We take comfort in our governments, our militaries, and our laws. How much more so, then, should we be empowered by our citizenship in God’s own Kingdom?
I know that your Kingdom is alive today. I know that your Kingdom is more mighty than any in this world. God, thank you for making one of your people, a citizen of your country. Thank you for the sacrifice of Christ Jesus which brought your Kingdom here. Empower me and help me to take comfort in knowing that I am a citizen of Heaven with you, through Jesus.