The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God

Introduction
The Kingdom of God
  What Will God’s Kingdom be Like?
Jesus Christ and the Problem of Sin
  The Origin of Sin
  The Problem of Sin Solved
  Who is Jesus Christ?
What We Need to Do
  Repentance and Baptism
  The Holy Spirit
  Christian Fellowship
  The Christian Communion Meal
Summary

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Introduction

Many people believe there is a God, the creator of all things, but they are not sure if he is personally interested in their lives.  They don’t understand why he permits the evil we see in today’s world.  Why are there wars, hunger, diseases and suffering?  Why are the majority of people today living at or below the poverty line, while a few privileged ones have more money than they can spend in a lifetime?  Why do governments today abuse their own citizens and make war with other governments, often for purely materialistic or political reasons?  Will there ever be a time on this earth when people will live together in peace?  Will we ever see a government that truly cares for the people it governs?

And what about human nature?  In today’s world, we see greed and self-interest reigning in human hearts.  In rich countries, people are literally dying from overeating, while in poor countries thousands starve to death daily.  How can a world be created where love of God and love of neighbor govern our everyday decisions?  A just and peaceful world can only exist when its people highly value justice and peace and truly care for each other.  People must be transformed into something better, but is this possible?

Thankfully, God has given us the answers to all these questions in his Word, the Bible.  The Bible is a collection of sixty-six books which were written by forty of God’s servants over a period of sixteen hundred years.  Yet these sixty-six smaller books are amazingly unified into one larger book, the Bible.  The Bible contains detailed prophecy, much which has already been fulfilled, and the remainder which awaits fulfillment.  For example, in the book of Daniel, written in the sixth century B.C.E., there are detailed predictions of the rise of world powers: Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman (see Daniel 2:31-43, 7:1-26, 8:1-25).  Even though these prophecies were written, in some cases, centuries before the events they describe, they were fulfilled in astonishing detail.  There are over three hundred prophecies describing the birth, ministry and death of Jesus Christ—centuries before he was even born.  Yet these are just a few examples—there are hundreds more.  Fulfilled prophecy, along with its amazing harmony and divine wisdom, is proof that the Bible was inspired of God, and is like no other sacred book.

Unfortunately the clear message of the Bible has been corrupted by churches and religious leaders claiming to represent God.  Christian missionaries have often used their positions to further the business and political interests of their own countries.  Corrupt religious leaders have used Christianity to satisfy their own greed or lust for power rather than help their followers come to know Christ.  Sadly, Christianity has often been used to subjugate people rather than to free them.  But this is not the Christianity taught by Jesus Christ and his apostles in the Bible.  Jesus said:

"Do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. "Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. "But the greatest among you shall be your servant. "Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:8-12)

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, my kingdom is not of this realm." (John 18:36)

You will be surprised to learn that the Christianity taught in the Bible is generally different than that commonly taught by most churches. You will be happy to know that this authentic, biblical Christianity is freely available to all who sincerely wish to have it.

The Kingdom of God  

What is this kingdom Jesus spoke of that is “not of this world”?  It is the realm of God, the place of great joy where God reigns among his creation.  It comes to us in two stages.  The first is the inauguration or birth of that kingdom at Jesus’ first appearance on earth two thousand years ago.  At that time God’s kingdom broke into this world quietly, subversively, in the person of Jesus.  As Jesus gathered disciples to himself, these were also brought into the kingdom of God, and continue to be down to our time. 

The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst." Luke 17:20-21) 

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colosians 1:12-14) 

…for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17) 

And so the Kingdom of God has gathered its citizens since Jesus’ time, and these true disciples of Christ have testified to the righteousness, justice and joys of that kingdom.  But the world has generally hated and persecuted them.  Its governments have opposed the rule of God.  However a time is coming when the kingdom of God will encompass more than just the realm of Jesus’ true disciples.  It will eventually encompass the entire earth.  This is the second stage, also known as the consummation.  This occurs at the glorious return of Jesus Christ. 

The book of Daniel prophetically describes this consummation. 

In the time of those kings [the kingdoms of this world that are in opposition to God’s rule], the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (Daniel 2:44) 

I [Daniel] kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man [Jesus Christ] was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days [Yahweh, God the Father] and was presented before Him. "And to Him [Jesus] was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14) 

At God’s appointed time, his kingdom under Jesus Christ will remove the governments of this world, and replace them as sole governing authority.  Since we have already witnessed much fulfilled prophecy in striking detail, we can be assured that this prophecy will also be fulfilled.  Knowing God’s kingdom will replace the kingdoms of this world, it should be clear that Christians must not mix in politics or support wars, for this would divide our loyalties.  Those churches or religious leaders that do mix with the political powers have either not understood this clear Bible teaching or choose to ignore it. 

You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4:4) 

It is true, of course, that governments of this world provide many basic needs and services, for which we pay taxes.  They also provide a stabilizing force without which there would be chaos and anarchy. The apostle Paul, a disciple of Jesus Christ, recognizes this in his letter to the Romans: 

Obey the rulers who have authority over you. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their places of power. (Romans 13:1) 

Paul recognizes that God has allowed these worldly governments to exist, even though he intends to destroy them and replace them with his kingdom in the future.  So we are not to oppose the governments of this world, or stir up opposition against them in any way. As Christians, we are to obey the laws of the land, and pay our taxes honestly.  But is our obedience to our governments absolute?  Not at all--Jesus gives us the principle: 

"Show me the coin used for the poll-tax." And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said to Him, "Caesar's." Then He said to them, "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's." And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away. (Matthew 22:19-22) 

If our government were to ask us to do something in violation of clear Bible teaching, we would have to refuse.  That is, we must “render...to God the things that are God’s.”  This is precisely what the apostle Peter, another disciple of Jesus, did when the governing authorities commanded him to stop preaching the good news of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. 

When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, saying, "We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men.”  (Acts 5:27-29) 

Christians do their best to live a peaceful, honest life, obeying the laws of the land and contributing in a positive way to the community they live in.  However, their first allegiance is to God and his Christ.  God’s commands will always overrule man’s laws if there is a conflict.  Christians belong to God’s kingdom, not this world’s kingdoms.  They witness to the world about the great spiritual blessings of being in God’s kingdom now, and warn the world that a time is coming when Jesus will return in kingly power to remove this world’s governments and rule over the earth.  They invite everyone to come to Jesus now, become his disciple, and get a taste of the Kingdom of God.

What Will God’s Kingdom be Like?

The Bible describes that future time when the kingdom rules over the earth. 

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."  And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new " And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." (Revelation 21:3-5) 

It will be a glorious time, a time when God will dwell with men, and there “will no longer be any death”, or mourning, or crying, or pain.

It will be a paradise.  No longer will the rich own everything and the poor masses be left destitute. 

They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. (Isaiah 65:21-22)

It will be a time of peace, even among the animals. 

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)

It will be a time of plenty.  The earth will give its harvest in abundance. 

The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. (Joel 2:24) 

1The wilderness and the desert will be glad, and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the crocus. (Isaiah 35:1) 

The dead will be resurrected and there will be a judgment. 

There shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. (Acts 24:15)

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I [Jesus] shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. (John 6:39) 

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. (Revelation 20:13) 

Most importantly, it will be a time when the truth of God and his purposes will be known by all.  Mankind will be united in the true worship of God our Heavenly Father. 

The earth will be full of the knowledge of Yahweh [the name of God the Father] as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9) 

When can we expect God’s Kingdom to begin its rule?  We can’t say for sure.  The many Bible prophecies concerning that event suggest the time is near.  However, Jesus plainly stated that even he didn’t know the time, only his Father, God Almighty did (Acts 1:7).  Therefore we should continue to pray that God will soon establish his kingdom rule over this earth, and live our lives in expectation of that time. 

What about sinful, imperfect human nature?  How does God address this problem?

Jesus Christ and the Problem of Sin

The Origin of Sin

The Bible teaches that our original parents, the first humans created by God, Adam and Eve, were misled by an evil angel known as Satan the devil (Genesis 3:1-19). God had put them in a beautiful garden, and given them dominion over all the animals. There was only one restriction. He commanded them not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, and assured them that if they did eat of it they would die. They had two choices: obey God and live forever in paradise, or disobey God and forfeit their eternal life. The issue was God’s sovereignty, his right to rule.

Satan, an evil angel who opposes God, misled Eve. He claimed that what God had said was untrue and that if she ate of the Tree of Knowledge, her eyes would be opened and she would be like God knowing good and bad. Of course these were all lies, but Eve foolishly chose to listen to Satan rather than God. Then she convinced Adam to follow her in disobedience—giving him some of the forbidden fruit to eat.

Because they listened to Satan and disobeyed God’s explicit command, sin was introduced to humankind. Sin simply means a failure to obey God’s commands. This sinful tendency was passed on to all of Adam and Eve’s offspring — the entire human race. God then evicted Adam and Eve from paradise, and removed his spirit from them. They grew old and died, just as God had said. Ever since this rebellion, it is impossible for humans to live a sinless life and have direct communion with God based on their own merit.

Compounding the problem, Satan is still alive and well, and continues to mislead humankind:

The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:9)

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. (1 John 5:19)

So God had a dilemma. His first created humans had rebelled against him, and had produced what would eventually be billions of disobedient, sinful offspring and a world misled by Satan. Yet God, despite our stupidity and rebelliousness, continued to love us and wanted to redeem us from our foolish course. There is nothing we can offer God to redeem ourselves, since we are imperfect and own nothing that God did not already give us. So God would have to give something to satisfy his own principles of justice.

The Problem of Sin Solved

What could God give, that would be so precious and of such high value that all of sinful mankind could potentially be redeemed? The answer is his only-begotten son Jesus. There is nothing more valuable or precious than someone’s firstborn. Jesus existed in the heavens with God for eons prior to his coming to earth (Proverbs 8:22-31). He would have to be miraculously transformed into a human, and be born of a woman in order to provide a perfect human sacrifice. The perfect life of Jesus would be a ransom (rescuing) sacrifice for the perfect life Adam that was lost in Eden:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21)

God declares that this sacrifice is sufficient to redeem all men, and then provides the sacrifice. God’s scale of justice is then satisfied completely.

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (1 Corinthians 15:21-23)

God would give his only son as a sacrifice for our sins in order to satisfy his universal laws of justice. Any person that believes in this sacrifice and repents of his sins will be forgiven and be considered righteous in God’s eyes. In this sacred offering, we see the deep love of God for his creation:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus willingly accepted this assignment, and came to the earth two thousand years ago to teach people about God’s kingdom, and to give his life as a sacrifice. After three and a half years of ministry, he was falsely accused by the religious leaders, who then pressured the Roman government into executing him. He willingly suffered abuse and torture, and finally crucifixion: he was nailed to a wooden cross and left to die:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Yet Jesus did not remain dead. Three days later, he was resurrected by God, his Father. He appeared to more than five hundred disciples, teaching them and strengthening them for the preaching work ahead. He commanded his disciples:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Shortly after this, his disciples witnessed his ascension back to heaven (Acts 1:9-11). However, he promised to return. It is with great anticipation that his disciples look forward to this event, for when Jesus returns a second time, it will be to gather his disciples to himself, inaugurate God’s kingdom over this earth, and resurrect the dead:

Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30)

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out — those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28, 29)

Who is Jesus Christ?

Since Jesus Christ is king of God’s kingdom, we might ask, what kind of person is he?

He is compassionate.

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. (John 11:33-35)

He loves children.

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:13-14)

He can cure the sick and heal any ailment.

Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. (Matthew 15:30)

He can raise the dead to life.

“Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (John 11:39-44)

He has authority over the forces of nature.

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. (Matthew 8:26)

He can miraculously feed large crowds.

And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. (Matthew 14:19-20)

He has been given all authority by God. Satan has no power over him.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matthew 28:18)

Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. (John 12:31)

I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me. (John 14:30)

Jesus is the perfect representation of his Father Yahweh, God Almighty, and does his father’s will.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Colossians 1:15)

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. (John 7:16)

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)

We know that Jesus has intense love for mankind, because he laid down his very life for us even though we are undeserving of this grace. What a contrast to man’s governments, which often abuse their own citizens and make wars with other countries. God’s government under our righteous king and savior, Jesus Christ, will be a benevolent government, which truly loves and cares for its subjects. The many miracles Jesus performed are just a taste of what he will do when God’s kingdom rules over the earth.

What We Need to Do

Jesus Christ is very much alive. He has been raised from the dead by God, his Father, and now sits on a throne at the Father’s side. He has a keen interest in us as individuals. If we believe that the governments of this world cannot create a just, peaceful society, and if we recognize that we are sinful and imperfect, we need to come to Jesus Christ and ask to be his disciple. Through Jesus Christ, we can worship Yahweh, our Heavenly Father, creator of all things.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (John 4:23)

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. (John 6:44)

Repentance and Baptism

We need to repent of our sins, and ask God to forgive us in Jesus’ name. Then, we must be baptized (immersed) in water to symbolize our dedication to Christ publicly. Note the Apostle Peter’s advice to the Jews of the first century:

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:37-39)

When we are baptized in water, in the presence of God and fellow believers, we make a solemn commitment to follow Christ wherever he leads. We declare our old life in the flesh dead, and promise to obey the commands of Jesus and live as a spiritual person for the rest of our lives.

The Holy Spirit

Notice that if you repent and are baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ, “you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This was the very Holy Spirit Jesus promised would be given to them some time after his death and resurrection.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5)

The Holy Spirit is the power of God, which is given to disciples of Jesus. This Holy Spirit operates on the minds and hearts of true believers, teaching them the truths of God’s Word and enlightening the believer about God’s purposes and will.

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. (1 John 2:27)

The Holy Spirit unites the believer to Jesus Christ. A spiritual connection is made between the believer’s heart and mind and their Lord. The scriptures liken this arrangement to a physical body. Jesus Christ is the head of this body, and the individual believers make up the body itself. True Christians, then, function in unity under their leader and head, Jesus Christ.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body — whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

It is important for the new believer to progress in the truth of God’s word, the Bible, asking for Holy Spirit to help in the understanding and application of this truth.

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13)

We should desire to be a good witness for Jesus Christ and try hard to progressively become more Christ-like in our personalities and daily living. The Holy Spirit assists us in this.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-24)

Christian Fellowship

Since Christians are united to Christ in one spiritual body, it is very important to find other Christians to meet with. This does not have to be a formal church, but can be a simple, informal meeting in your home with others of like faith.

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)

A word of caution, however, is in order. Not all people calling themselves Christians live truly Christian lives. Jesus indicated this in his parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13). We should be discerning but not judgmental. The following principles may help in finding other sincere Christians to fellowship with.

True Christians:

•Are motivated by principled, Christian love. They are sincerely interested in helping their neighbors and their brothers and sisters in Christ. They wish for all people to come to know God as they have.

•Consider the Bible to be the final authority on all doctrine, not church traditions, church leaders, or theological systems devised by men.

•Recognize only one ultimate leader of the congregation, Jesus Christ, and one God Almighty, the Father of our Lord Jesus. Men can assume leadership positions in a church, but they are servants of Christ only. Any man or church which attempts to replace Christ’s unique position as head of the congregation should be rejected.

•Are firm on the separation of church and state. They remain neutral in the conflicts of this world. They know that only God’s Kingdom will solve this world’s problems and look forward to its establishment with great anticipation.

•Are humble servants of Jesus Christ. They are not interested in glory for themselves, but give all the glory to their Heavenly Father.

•Never attempt to coerce someone into believing something. They recognize that belief must be voluntary, guided by the individual’s conscience.

If you are looking for Christian believers to fellowship with, pray to God in Jesus’ name that you will find some. The guidelines above may help you, but the best help is God himself. You could also try starting a small group in your own home. Simply find one or two other people that are interested in studying the Bible. Invite them to your home for a meal. Pray together for forgiveness, for wisdom, for daily needs, for direction from God, for each other, and for those you know that need help. Read and discuss the Bible together, and apply the things you learn to your own lives. Share these truths with others, and invite them to join your home group. Sing spiritual songs, and offer thanks and praise to our Heavenly Father, Yahweh, in the name of Jesus.

The Christian Communion Meal

On the night of Jesus’ arrest, he was sharing the Passover meal with his disciples. The Passover was an annual celebration whereby Jews remembered their deliverance from Egypt under Moses, and involved the slaughter and eating of a lamb by each family in Israel. On that night Jesus instituted a new celebration which replaced the Passover — the memorial of his death, and commanded Christians to keep it. Jesus would fulfill the Passover celebration by becoming the Passover lamb that would save not just Jews who believed, but all mankind who put faith in him.

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:14-20)

Christians continue to keep this celebration in memory of Jesus’ sacrificial death. They gather regularly to share bread and wine in memory of their Lord. Some observe it annually, others celebrate more often. The Bible is not specific on the frequency. The important thing is for all Christians to celebrate it regularly, meditating on the meaning of the bread (his body) and the wine (his sacrificial blood of the new covenant), while we patiently await his return in glory to establish God’s kingdom over the earth.

Summary

Six thousand years of history have proven that mankind is unable to govern himself effectively. Only God’s kingdom can bring about a just, peaceful world. God intends to do this, and promises to replace earth’s governments with a kingdom headed by his son Jesus Christ.

However, the problem of sin remains. Humans inherit sin and imperfection from their parents and so are not able to commune with God directly. A mediator is needed, and this mediator is provided by God himself in the person of his son, Jesus Christ, who died as a sacrifice for our sins, but who was resurrected and now sits at the right hand of God in heaven. He will return in the future to establish God’s kingdom over the earth, to resurrect the dead, and to bring about an era of peace, justice, freedom, righteousness and true worship that has never been seen on this earth since the beginning.

If we believe these promises in the Bible, then let us become a disciple of Jesus Christ and tell others of this good news. Let us repent of our sins, and be baptized in water as a symbol of our dedication. Let us seek other sincere Christians to fellowship with. Let us celebrate the memorial of our Lord’s death regularly. And let us continue to pray as our Lord Jesus Christ taught us:

This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:9-13)

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Gordon Coulson