Jesus’ Kingdom of God
Introduction and Alignment
This lesson we will discuss the concept of the Kingdom of God. While it is not in the apostles creed explicitly the Kingdom of God is the main theme of Jesus’ life and mission.
In chapter five Bird discusses Jesus as Messiah and he discloses a unique understanding of Jesus Kingdom. Concerning the CreedBird points out that the creed itself was not concerned with the life and teaching of Jesus. This he stated, was due to the concerns of the day (Bird 85). The issues about Christ in the Creed was not concerned with his life, death or teaching, rather it was concerned with his relationship to God.
This is complicated precisely because of the ancient understanding the Divine and the temporal existence. In the Greek philosophical view that dominated the day, for any being to be divine was for that being not to be confined to merely physical or mortal existence. For a god to be a god he could certainly take up the appearance, for a time, as mortal but to willingly take up the existence of being mortal, would be unthinkable.
One can see this view hinted at in Scripture. When Paul was in Athens in Acts 17:32 he spoke to the learned men of the city upon their request. When Paul spoke to them of the resurrection of the dead the text says that some sneered at him. Were they sneering at the absurd claim that a dead man can live again? Certainly there is an element of incredulity surrounding the whole resurrection event. However, upon closer inspection, it is not merely the incredible nature of the resurrection that confounded and brought their scorn. Rather it was the seemingly irrational claim of a divine being choosing to reclaim mortal flesh after having been delivered from it.
In this way, the confusing and confounding nature of the claims of Christ were as incredible in his own day as in our own. Ironically, it was not Jesus divine nature that was so scandalous rather it was the fact of his mortal human suffering and death that confronted and confounded the thinkers and philosophers of his day.
As a result, the church spent tremendous amount of thinking, researching, investigating and debating the exact nature of Christ and his relationship to God the Father. This is why they focus upon the virgin birth of Christ, they emphasize the human characteristics of his birth, suffering and death at a particular time and place to emphasize both the divinity and humanity held in, what became known as, hypostatic union.
The result of all this is that Jesus life, message and teaching about the Kingdom of God, sin and redemption were not unimportant details but rather generally agreed upon or readily considered inoffensive.
So, as we examine the Apostle’s Creed we must recognize both what it is and what it is not. It is not a solution for all theological issues and problems. It is, however, a strong starting point that allows for a Christian understanding and interpretation of other theological issues at hand. The creed helps us understand who Jesus is in relationship to God and it points us to understanding the Kingdom of God. Buried in the comma between his conception under the virgin Mary and his suffering under Pontius Pilot is the assumption of his life, miracles and teaching concerning the Kingdom of God. How do we understanding what Jesus meant by the Kingdom of God?
Upon completion of this assignment, you should be able to:
Articulate a theological understanding of the Kingdom of God.
Textbook: What Christians ought to Believe
Read Chapters 5,6,7 in What Christians Ought to Believe.
Navigate to the threaded discussion below and respond to the following:
How does the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth impact your understanding of the Kingdom of God?
Your postings are well developed and provide clear evidence of critical thinking. You quoted 2 lines from either the Bird or McGrath books.
Your questions or observations add greater depth to the discussion by introducing new ideas.
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