Seeing (And Not Seeing) The Kingdom of God
Readers of Beyond the Pale know I love Disneyland. I even like to joke that God, knowing I was going to be moving back to Hong Kong, had Hong Kong Disneyland built just for me.
The park is not far from where we live so we often meet as a family for a couple hours in the evening for dinner and to enjoy a stroll together.
I must admit though that I also like to “people watch” when I’m at Disneyland. Watching mothers and fathers enjoying the “magic” of the park with their children or young couples walking hand in hand as they stroll Main Street…it’s part of what makes a trip to the park fun.
But there is another group I find interesting to watch but for a different reason. It’s the group of men who tend to hang out around the smoking section benches at the end of Main Street USA. Yes, because of Hong Kong’s proximity to Mainland China a lot of Chinese tourists visit Disneyland… and smoking is still a big part of the culture. I watch them…a group of guys puffing away…no wives…no girlfriends…no children.
And they look bored! My guess is they come to Disneyland because it’s part of the tourist package or because its just one of the things you do when you visit Hong Kong.
But they just appear sad and bored…and kinda looking like they want to be just about anywhere else.
I always think, “How can they look so bored when the Magic Kingdom is all around them?”
Can’t they see there are period musicians playing fun songs on the street? Are they really not interested in all the enchanting characters walking right past them? There is Space Mountain, a Tarzan Tree House, Buzz Lightyear, laughter, singing…and a castle!
“LOOK” I want to plead, “it’s all around you!”
Can they not see?
…but sadly they can’t!
In order to really experience the Magic Kingdom you have to see it with a certain heart, and with a certain set of eyes.
As I pondered this I thought “what is more tragic is most people can’t see the Kingdom of God all around them.”
In order to see the Kingdom of God you also need to see it with a certain heart, and with a certain set of eyes.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
John 3: 1-5
I used to think that this verse was about getting people to accept Jesus and be “born again” so when the die THEN they can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
But that’s not the case. The Kingdom of God is HERE and NOW!
Accepting Christ’s invitation to become a citizen of his Kingdom allows you to begin to see it really IS all around you…
…and that it is advancing!
Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.”
Luke 17: 20-21
It’s really unfortunate that that so many Christians fail to see that the action is HERE. Heaven is breaking forth on Earth starting with Christ’s resurrection and progressing till now.
And as citizens of that Kingdom we have the privilege of participating in calling others to join us. Do you realize you have the authority to confirm citizenship in that Kingdom to others that choose to recognize Christ as King?
You essentially get to issue a passport to to a new citizen! Now do you understand why Christians are referred to as “ambassadors”
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God
2 Cor. 5 :20
For those that choose to be reconciled (which really means you realize you want to come home to your father) we get to show them the Kingdom of God.
But it’s a whole lot harder to do when you can’t see the Kingdom yourself.
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