(Except otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the American King James Version).
The Jews greatly misunderstood the first advent of Christ, believing his coming was to liberate them from the oppression of Rome and to set up the kingdom of God on earth. Thus, when Christ steered clear of the politics of the nation and their nationalistic fervour, the people were greatly disappointed and questioned his messiahship. Even after his resurrection, his apostles were still looking forward to the immediate restoration of the Davidic Kingdom! But, the Lord’s response to their query on this should be useful even to us today as well.
The Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
The Acts 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen:
The Acts 1:3 To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
The Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me.
The Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
The Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
The Acts 1:7 And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.
The Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
The Acts 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
The Acts 1:10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
The Acts 1:11 Which also said, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.
It’s instructive to note how the Lord turned the apostles’ attention away from the issue of an earthly kingdom in his first advent, focusing instead on the purpose of his first coming—the salvation of men from the bondage of sin. The Jews were more concerned about their political, social and economic plight. They were tired of the tyrannical and oppressive government of Rome that had reduced them to vassals and bondmen. Their age-long hope and expectations for a Messiah then was basically political. They wanted someone to set them free politically from the oppression of Gentile subjugation and restore the glory of the Davidic Kingdom. In short, the Jews wanted a political saviour who would save the nation from its many plight, not the least, its subjugation to Rome. They wanted a divine judge, like Gideon, Barak and Jephthah of old, to deliver them from their enemies.
Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three score furlongs.
Luke 24:14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
Luke 24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
Luke 24:16 But their eyes were held that they should not know him.
Luke 24:17 And he said to them, What manner of communications are these that you have one to another, as you walk, and are sad?
Luke 24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said to him, Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem, and have not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
Luke 24:19 And he said to them, What things? And they said to him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
Luke 24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
Luke 24:22 Yes, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher;
Luke 24:23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
Luke 24:24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.
Luke 24:25 Then he said to them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
But, Jesus knew his mission from the Father and was very clear about it. His first coming wasn’t to deliver the nation of Israel politically and set up the kingdom of God on earth. He didn’t come to uproot the oppressive Romans and upturn their rule. Jesus’ agenda wasn’t political, nor was it social or economic. His first coming was just for one purpose—to save his people from their sins! That’s what the angel that announced his birth said, and that’s why he was given the name “Jesus”, which means Saviour. For sure, he will later set up God’s kingdom on earth and rule over it. But first, he needed to recruit citizens for that kingdom. Only men and women who have been rescued from the bondage of sin will be citizens of the kingdom of heaven. So, he had to pay the price for sin and rescue as many women and men that will believe in him, to make them citizens of that kingdom first, before he will come back to set up the kingdom of God on earth.
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately.
Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, you son of David, fear not to take to you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Luke 19:1 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
Luke 19:2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
Luke 19:3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
Luke 19:4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
Luke 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said to him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at your house.
Luke 19:6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
Luke 19:7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
Luke 19:9 And Jesus said to him, This day is salvation come to this house, as much as he also is a son of Abraham.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Thus, while the people were more interested in the immediate establishment of the kingdom of God, Jesus was more interested in recruiting citizens for that kingdom. While they were more interested in political freedom, Jesus was more interested in their spiritual freedom from sin, for that’s the only way people can become citizens of God’s kingdom! Thus, Jesus sharply refocused the attention of even his own confused apostles on his mission—it’s not their business to know when the political kingdom of God would be established on earth; their business right now, till the Lord returns to set up his kingdom on earth, is to help save men from their sins and make them citizens of that kingdom, when it’s eventually set up!
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.
Matthew 28:19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God.
So, the Lord made it clear to his hitherto-misguided and confused disciples what his mission was, and what their mission too should be —he didn’t come to set up a Christian political empire on earth in his first coming, and we shouldn’t waste our time trying to do that. He didn’t come to fan the embers of Christian nationalism, and we shouldn’t waste our time and resources trying to do that. Rather, Jesus came to save men and women from their sins, and that’s all we should be doing! The great commission is our only mission on earth as disciples of Jesus Christ, for that’s the only mission the Lord gave his church! Jesus is not interested in being King of any country on earth right now, for his kingdom is not of this present world system! That much the Lord said himself.
John 18:31 Then said Pilate to them, Take you him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said to him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:
John 18:32 That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, signifying what death he should die.
John 18:33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said to him, Are you the King of the Jews?
John 18:34 Jesus answered him, Say you this thing of yourself, or did others tell it you of me?
John 18:35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me: what have you done?
John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.
Yes, Jesus is not interested in being President of any country, or all the countries on earth, right now. Right now, he’s in heaven as high priest for mankind, to intercede for the people and save as many women and men from their sins. Right now, he’s the Captain of the Lord’s hosts, leading the charge against the hosts of darkness who have held men captive in sin, and we his foot soldiers are expected to be completely focused on this war. We’re not to entangle ourselves with the affairs of this world, so that we may please the one who has enlisted us into his army! Jesus escaped from several attempts by his misguided followers to make him a king prematurely. He still does not want to be made a king of this world system by any group of Christians and our misguided Christian nationalistic sentiments. Jesus is fine with being Saviour right now, and we should be fine with our mission to help reconcile men and women spiritually with him.
John 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
John 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
Romans 8:34 Who is he that comdemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
2 Timothy 2:3 You therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:4 No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who has chosen him to be a soldier.
In conclusion, the first advent of Jesus Christ (which spans from his incarnation and birth to his return in power and glory to rule the earth in righteousness) was for the purpose of taking on human form in order to be able to pay the price for the sins of fallen humanity and reconcile us back to God. He was born to be Saviour of the world, to deliver men from their sins. Thus, he willingly offered his life at Calvary as a ransom for the remission of sins, and he is right now seated at the right hand of God, where he continues to intercede for the sins of the people, as God’s high Priest. As Saviour and Redeemer, Christ continues to work through his church right now, in the great commission, to rescue souls from the powers of darkness and translate them into his kingdom. That’s the primary focus of the Lord right now and that should be the primary focus of the church militant too, who are his ambassadors on earth. The Lord will come back to take over the kingdoms of this world, when his intercessory work is over, and he will be King of kings and Lord of lords on earth, but that will be in the second advent, not now. We’re not called to take over the political systems of the world for Christ, through Christian nationalism. We’re not called to spread Christianity through political revolutions. We’re simply called to preach the gospel to every creation, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and win souls for the coming kingdom of God. Therefore, as our Lord avoided political entanglements with the affairs of this world while here, we too, as soldiers of Christ, are to avoid such entanglements, which could derail our mission. Let us then focus squarely on the great commission and recruit and prepare citizens of the coming kingdom of Christ, for the Lord has no interest in taking over the political systems of the world right now. His kingdom is not of this world system!
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