Paul on the State

Paul instructs believers in the center of the Empire not to resist the government - its existence has been arranged by God – Romans 13:1-8.  Writing to the churches of Rome, Paul presents principles for Christian conduct towards the State. Believers must “ subordinate themselves to governing powers, for there is no authority except by God .” His statement was written when Nero ruled the Roman Empire, the same man who became the first Roman emperor to persecute the church.

Reigning with the Lamb

Disciples reign with Jesus as priests that render service in his Tabernacle and mediate his light in the world .  The present reign of Jesus is based on his past death and resurrection because of which his disciples also reign with him. But like him, their elevation to rule over the earth is paradoxical - it is characterized by self-sacrificial service and perseverance in testimony, and the outpouring of his lifeblood has consecrated them as “ priests ” to God.

Transitory Powers

Only God’s kingdom will prevail and endure. All other political powers are fleeting, already they are passing away .  Despite human pretensions, history demonstrates the impermanence of political power and governments. Rome endured for a thousand years, but its empire fell all the same. Like life itself, political power is fleeting, and it often collapses quickly and unexpectedly when its allotted time expires. Only the reign and realm of God will last forever.

The Sower

The Son of Man sows the seed of the gospel in the world where it grows into the kingdom of God until the end of the age – Mark 4:1-20.  The  Parable of the Sower  provides the key to understanding the other parables of Jesus. Its point is that the kingdom of God began to invade the present age with the proclamation of the kingdom of God by the “ Son of Man .” Jesus inaugurated the process, and ever since, the kingdom has been advancing throughout the earth though largely unnoticed.

Kingdom Parables

Jesus taught several parables concerning God’s kingdom, its unexpected ways of expansion, and its status in the world - Mark 4:21-34. The gospel of  Mark  provides only a few examples of the many parables taught by Jesus, his primary method of teaching (“ Apart from a parable he did not speak to the crowds ”). In them, the dominant theme is the kingdom and the reign of God that commenced in Christ’s ministry and has continued since as the gospel is proclaimed on the earth .