The *kingdom of God

The Life of Jesus Christ - Chapter 12 - Jesus lives again and returns to God - Part 4

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An online Bible Study course by Barrie Wetherill about the life of Jesus. This book is in EasyEnglish Level B. Use the links below for other online Bible Study books and commentaries that will help you. Or go to the Word List, which explains words with a *star.

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Jesus told his *disciples to wait for the *Holy Spirit

Jesus did not tell his disciples to go out immediately and speak about him. He told them to wait. For forty days, he spoke to them. He told them to wait even after he returned to *heaven. They waited then for ten more days.

We can understand this better if we pretend to be these *disciples. For three years they travelled with Jesus. Then suddenly, his enemies took him, and he died. This must have seemed like a defeat. How would they feel? We can know this when we read about the *disciples on the road to Emmaus. They said:

Luke 24:21  But we had hoped that he was going to save Israel. And there is more. It is the third day since all this happened.

But suddenly, they discovered that Jesus is alive. There was such a lot for them to understand now. After Jesus came alive again, they understood many, many things. They must have discussed together the things that Jesus had said. Now they could understand them. They looked again at what the *Old Testament said. For the first time they would now understand what the *prophets had written.

Israel and the *kingdom

The *disciples now asked Jesus a question.

Acts 1:6  '*Lord, are you now going to give back the *kingdom to Israel?'

The *disciples had hoped for a long time that Jesus would do this immediately. The *prophets had promised a *kingdom for the Jews. Before Jesus died, the *disciples often argued. They argued about who would be important in this *kingdom. The death of Jesus ended these hopes. But now they began to hope again. Perhaps they thought that Jesus would now establish the *kingdom in Jerusalem. Before his death, Jesus made a promise to them. One day they would sit on 12 *thrones beside him, in his *kingdom. They would *judge the 12 families of Israel. Perhaps this is why they asked this question.

The real nature of the *kingdom of God

The *disciples were thinking only about the future of Israel at this time. This was not what Jesus was thinking about. He had died for the whole world. At that time, very few people in the world knew about the love of the *Lord Jesus Christ. They did not know that he had died for them. The most important thing was to tell everyone. Everyone had to know what Jesus Christ had done for them. They could have new life if they trusted him.

The *kingdom of God is a much greater thing than the disciples had imagined. God would establish the *kingdom immediately, but not completely. The *kingdom will be complete only when Jesus returns to the world again. We call this the Second Coming. At the Second Coming, Jesus will establish the *kingdom completely. But also, Jesus will *judge everyone. He will punish everyone who did not want to know him on earth. The *kingdom of God will be a time of complete goodness, peace, and joy. Nothing that is wicked will ever enter the *kingdom of God. The most important qualities of the *kingdom will be love, service and humility [that is, people will be humble]. There will be no force and power, as the *disciples wrongly supposed.

Tell the world about Jesus

The most important thing then was not to establish the *kingdom for Israel. The most important thing was to tell the world the good news about Jesus. But Jesus was not angry with the *disciples. See how kindly he corrected them in Acts 1:7,8. Notice also the order in which he mentioned the world.

Acts 1:7,8  And he said to them, 'You do not need to know times or seasons. This is the Fatherís responsibility [that is, God's responsibility]. But when the *Holy Spirit has come upon you; you will have power. You shall be witnesses to me:

  in Jerusalem,

  and in all Judea and Samaria,

  and to the end of the earth.'

'You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem.' This means that the Jews are to hear the good news first. But the good news is not only for them. Everyone in the whole world, to the furthest places, needs to know the good news. Jesus can forgive their *sins, if they trust him as *Saviour. The *disciples had not understood the importance of their task. They had not understood what a great task it was.


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