What should the followers of Jesus behave like? What distinguishes a Kingdom person from a good pagan? How can you tell the difference?
A few years ago the death penalty was handed down to Scott Peterson for murdering his wife and unborn son. There was a strange scene outside of the courtroom. There was cheering. Imagine that. It reminds me of what happened when Timothy McVeigh was executed for the Oklahoma City bombing. There were two kinds of people outside the prison. One group shared beers and held signs of celebration. When the lights dimmed from the surge of power through the chair that killed him, they cheered as if their team had just won the Super Bowl. But there was another group there that day. They were quiet. They didn’t hold beers in their hands, they held candles. They didn’t cheer when the lights dimmed. They quietly wept and prayed.
Let me ask you, which behaved like Kingdom people? There is a Kingdom response to the issues of this world.
I believe there is a place where all men are brothers and all women are sisters. A place where God and the things of God are welcomed in every conversation. A place where the Lion can lay down with the lamb. A place where every single wounded heart will find wholeness. I believe in a place where every lonely person will find company. I believe in a place where every person is loved unconditionally. I believe in a place where God and God’s people and the angels ally together to create a community that transcends this world. It is place where every soul is nurtured and every physical body is ultimately healed. It a place called the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is not just a place up above and after this life. It is here and now. It is in this place. It is in countless places around the world. It is a mystery. It is hard to comprehend.
In the movie The Hiding Place there is a powerful scene that best depicts this idea. Betsy and Corrie Ten Boom were leading a worship service in a flea-infested and hateful concentration camp at Ravensbrook. They were describing the love of God. The God who is love. They were challenged in the middle of this worship moment by a woman named Marie who had been the first chair violinist for the Amsterdam symphony. She said, “You say your God is a God of love. Would a God of love allow this to happen?” She held up here disfigured hand. “Where was your God of love when this happened?’
The camera moves back to Betsy and Corrie whose eyes have filled with tears. And as one tear falls from Betsy’s eye she says, “I can’t answer your question. All I know is that God suffered on a cross unspeakable pain and suffering—for love.” Then she said this striking statement, “You just see this world. We see another world. We who love Him live in two worlds. You just live in this flea-infested, hate-filled world. But we live in both worlds, they exist side by side.”
No truer words could be uttered. That is the truth of the Kingdome. These worlds live side by side. This Kingdom is among us.
In which one do I live?