The King is coming

Preaching a series on Jesus as prophet, priest and king has had its challenges: Jesus, the High Priest who identifies with all our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), is very comforting. We love that Jesus shares our humanity. Jesus the Son who is the very embodiment of God’s word, with Power (Hebrews 1:2), is also appealing – we long to see heaven come to earth and the Spirit poured out in glory. But this Sunday Richard ventured into the more dangerous territory of Jesus the King: “But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” (Hebrews 1:8-9). We know there is a challenge to rule, to change the world – but how do we change it the way God wants to change it?

The king comes to put all wrongs things to right and to bring shalom peace. Richard preached last year very powerfully on how we need to see that justice is not punitive, but restorative – it looks like healing, deliverance, freedom and resurrection life. But revival is needed in our society, as well as individuals. The manifestation of social justice is inherently political because Jesus’ kingdom supersedes all other governments. Jesus is king of kings – and he was crucified, after all, not for healing a bunch of sick people, but for claiming to be a king. If we want to bring about God’s justice – we need first of all to know what is wrong with our society? And herein lies the challenge – if our view of “setting things right” extends no further than dealing with crime and corruption – we have a very poor justice indeed. What about economic injustice? The Kingdom coming is not going to look like a capitalist utopia – because capitalism only works for those who already have money. We have to take the nation’s pain seriously. But the Kingdom coming is not socialism either – the socialist state needs victims to justify its political power – and the kingdom of God comes with empowerment – to set people free, not to keep them enslaved to the establishment. In reality, the justice of heaven doesn’t look like any existing paradigm – but it does look like something.

First of all, the Kingdom looks like family – so we need to work for an inclusive justice – it’s never justice for one group at expense of another because the heart of Father is for all of his children. Jesus’ earthly ministry was inclusive of all the marginalized sectors of society. Justice needs to be relational. We belong to one another. Whatever the lines that divide us, we speak of “us”, not “them.”

Second, justice is healing. At the end of Revelation, the river of Life has leaves for the healing of the nations. South Africa is more deeply wounded than we can imagine. We need supernatural anointing to bring access to the tree of life for all our peoples.

Third, justice is the product of discipleship – we don’t need any more religion here. Religion gave us apartheid and hasn’t stopped us having one of the highest rates of murder and rape in the world. Being a “Christian nation” is not the standard we aspire to – it hasn’t solved the problems of the past and it’s hardly the Golden Age to revert to. We need a nation filled with radical followers of Jesus – this is the hope of Kingdom coming.

You can listen to Richard’s sermon in full HERE.