eMeditation on the Bible
Question: What are the boundaries of Godís kingdom?
The Story: Jesus & Godís Kingdom (from the Bible's biographies of Jesus)
When Jesus began to establish Godís kingdom within the human family, he chose and trained 12 students (ďdisciplesĒ) to spread it throughout the world when he was gone. Those he selected belonged to opposite sides of occupational, social, educational and political boundaries within society. They included rebels against the Romans; a collaborator with the Romans; a member of a profession hated by the others; some with little education and unskilled jobs; and some with education and skilled jobs. They were not natural allies who lived in social harmony.
As Jesus initiated God's kingdom, he crossed many boundaries to serve the physical, social and spiritual needs of people from very different communities, social classes and ethnic groups. Moreover, contrary to the cultural norms of the ancient world, he treated women as valuable members of society and paid attention to people with diseases and disabilities who were ignored and marginalized by society.
Godís goal for the human family is to create a world of social harmony within the diversity of human cultures and ethnic groups. God desires a world in which people respect, serve and cooperate with each other regardless of their differences. Jesus deliberately selected disciples from a variety of backgrounds that usually did not get along with each other. He did so to teach them to live by the core values of Godís family. These values are based on loving others by practicing the Principle of Social Harmony: ďTreat others as you want others to treat you.Ē In the way that he selected his disciples, Jesus reached across social boundaries to form a community whose social divisions needed to be healed by Godís love as they followed Jesus and matured spiritually in their relationship with God as their heavenly father.
For thousands of years, the human family has been unable to achieve social harmony apart from God. We need spiritual power to transform our hearts with Godís love. We receive this by being deeply connected to God as spiritual sons and daughters when we enter Godís kingdom. As we mature spiritually in Godís family, we bring Godís love to our workplaces, communities, friends and families; thereby, healing divisions within our society. As Godís kingdom spreads around the world Ė crossing all geographic, national, economic, educational, linguistic, cultural, and political boundaries Ė Godís goal is social harmony in the form of peace, justice and flourishing well-being for everyone.
Respond by Growing
(1) Examine your relationships within the various communities you belong to. How much are you competing with others to gain personal advantage, achieve your goals and protect your interests, instead of cooperating with others for the benefit of the group? Consider how you can contribute to the well-being of others. (2) Determine what relationships need the healing of forgiveness and mutual respect and support. Ask God to guide you in providing such healing. (3) Notice who is being ignored or mistreated within society, such as persons who are elderly, disabled, chronically ill, low social status, living in poverty, foreigners or ethnic minorities. Reach out to specific persons or groups by giving them the dignity of paying attention to them and showing them love and mercy. Serve them according to your ability to assist.
eMeditation on the Bible