Okay, Luke’s gospel is where the kingdom rubber meets the worldly road. Literally. Jesus goes on the road; He’s on a mission; and He’s got a deadline.
If I drop out the duplicate references to the kingdom from Matthew and Mark, this is what is left for me to do and be a part of it:
If I’m not mistaken, that’s more than the number of total citations I found in Mark (12-11). These are all unique to Luke; they don’t even count the duplicates.
Did you sense a recurrent theme? (What’s that “p” word again?)
Can there be any doubt that Luke is the “preach”-quel to Acts?
Matthew | Luke | John | Acts | King | Ethic | Subjects
None of Matthew‘s “kingdom of heaven” euphemisms for young John Mark! He’ll go ahead and risk the wrath of his fellow Jews by calling it what it is: the “kingdom of God.”
But I find his description of Jesus’ words about the kingdom consistent.
To be a part of that kingdom, I must:
People have debated for centuries whether Jesus really intended to found a church, and how much it overlaps His kingdom.
When I looked at Matthew’s references, I took it personally. (Jesse’s mom made an observation that put it in perspective!)
But – without accusing or lauding – I tried to look at Mark’s references for that overlap. Does the church bear out the vision of the kingdom that Jesus describes?
The answer is probably “yes and no.”
I just wonder how I would react if Jesus came like the thief in the Jack Benny sketch and, instead of demanding “Your money or your life!”, asked:
“The kingdom or the church?”
Would I stand there like Jack’s skinflint persona, one hand cradling the elbow attached to the hand where my chin is resting ponderously … finally answering: “I’m thinking it over!”?
I want to object to the question; I want to say there couldn’t be such a choice; it’s not valid to ask. Yet I look over John Mark’s bullet points as I’m pecking away at this keyboard and …
I’m thinking it over.
Mark | Luke | John | Acts | King | Ethic | Subjects
I know that plenty of other and better writers have examined what it means to be a Kingdom Christian, but I’m writing this as an exercise in self-examination as much as anything else.
I thought I’d just go through and list what Jesus said about it, gospel by gospel.
If I aspire to be a Kingdom Christian, I should:
Whew! I’m glad I framed this as a list and not a pop quiz.
I’m not sure I’d like my score.