When you consider the mess the world is in right now, you might wonder if God has written us off as a bad investment. But if you read the Bible, you know that the world—at least man’s world—has been in a mess from the very beginning and yet God has taken an interest in it, and seems to be making sense out of it all. He has plan and is working the plan. The challenge for is for us to make sense of it and go along with his plan.
God has not only taken an special interest in the world, but has acted in history and has related to people in the world—sometimes to a community of people. The most obvious illustration is the
most-favored nation status that God afforded Israel during much of their existence as a people.
God was Israel’s king, and they were his Kingdom. The first manifestation, as it were, of the Kingdom of God. It is odd, in a way, the confusion that surrounds the expression,
The Kingdom of God. It simply refers to that entity which God rules. It is a Kingdom in the past where Israel is concerned. It is a future kingdom where the whole world is concerned. It is a present Kingdom where individuals are concerned who submit themselves to that Kingdom in a spiritual sense.
But knowing all this makes it all the more earthshaking when we grasp what Jesus was trying to tell the people of his day. Take this allegory, for instance. Surrounding Jesus when he gave this parable were a number of Jewish leaders, along with Jesus’ disciples. Listen carefully, because allegories are not always what they seem to be. We’ll find it in Matthew, chapter 21.