By Bill Spaans:
Chapter nine of Luke’s gospel includes the story of Jesus sending out the twelve disciples to proclaim the “good news of the kingdom”. In Luke 9:27 Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God”. What did Jesus mean by this statement? The answer is found in the cross and the empty tomb! Jesus ushered in His Kingdom when He defeated death and the powers of evil by rising from the grave. Many of His disciples were witnesses of this and were transformed by it. We too, if we accept Christ as Lord, have entered the Kingdom of Light. If we are in Christ, we are citizens of the Kingdom of God.
So what does citizenship in the Kingdom look like? Jesus gives us insight into this in Luke 9:46 where we read that the disciples are arguing about which of them would be the greatest. Jesus knowing their thoughts took a child and had him stand beside them. Then He said to them, “Whomever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
Being great in the eyes of the world is very much in vogue in some circles these days. This is quite a contrast to what Jesus taught. In Matthew 5:3 Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And in verse 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”. In Romans 14:17 we read “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”.
In our secular society it is possible to hold dual citizenship. For example, you can be a citizen of Canada and also be a citizen of Australia, or Belgium, or several other countries. However, in the Kingdom of God there is no such option! You are either a citizen of the Kingdom of God, or you are not! We can not have our feet in both camps, although sometimes in our weakness we try! May God give us grace today to live as worthy citizens of the Kingdom of God, and may the Spirit empower us to do so fully! And to God be the glory!