By Dan Babcock, missionary to Albania
The Kingdom of God was the central theme of Jesus’ preaching in Galilee. His words and deeds captured the attention of the whole country. Multitudes thronged Him crying out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And there was nothing that delighted His heart more than this, because He could meet the needs of every one of them! Crowding into His Presence they came, and He healed them all! (Mt. 4:23-25, 12:12 & 28)
It strikes me that this scene is what God wants to do in our country. Something happens when people gather at the feet of Jesus, surrounding Him with their complete attention. And when He is in their midst, anything is possible. It’s His will for many to repent and unite in prayer for the coming of His Kingdom. Instead of isolating ourselves, our nation needs us to come together, in every county and in every state.
But how could it happen? God needs a person in every walk of life with a vision for the united prayers of His people – one who loves prayer and prays dauntlessly for its increase. Breakthrough starts with just one person, but it will not begin with fewer than that! Jesus said, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened.’ (Mt. 13:33) Leaven spreads from one molecule of dough to the next, secretly and powerfully transforming the whole loaf. This is how the Kingdom spreads. The woman kneads the dough as the Bride of Christ should pray. It is easy to sit and pray in church, but we also must sacrificially pray in secret, transmitting the influence of God to those near to us.
In its beginnings the Kingdom is hidden. Picture a mother praying alone on her knees, weeping for the salvation of her family. Tears are a profound pillar of the Kingdom, and have a key influence on its coming. They water the driest spiritual grounds, deserts untouched by God. One day that mother will reap joy because of her faithfulness, as the reign of God comes into her family. (Ps. 126:5-6)
In the days of Jesus the Kingdom of God was advancing. It was necessary that every man press in to enter it (Luke 16:16). Why? God was testing the hearts of all men and preparing those who would be given His Kingdom! There are many struggles between light and darkness, sin and holiness. Every day our old body with its fears and desires battles the Holy Spirit. The flesh in every one of us does not want to pray. The Kingdom advances every time we say “Yes” to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and “No” to self.
In the Pilgrim’s Progress, a prince traveled far to receive a kingdom rightfully his. When he arrived at the majestic palace, he rejoiced to see people walking high on its balconies clothed in gold. But then he noticed that at its stately entrance stood armed guards ready to destroy anyone trying to get in. Although fearful at first, the prince remembered the kingdom was his. So, drawing his sword, he tried to enter. Attacking fiercely, he hacked his way forward, and after trading many blows, he finally crossed the threshold! Suddenly he heard a beautiful voice, “Enter in! Enter in! Eternal Glory you shall win!” and he found himself clothed in shining garments.
Transitioning into God’s next plan for us is often not easy. It takes courage and perseverance to receive the Kingdom. But oh! What its coming has meant to cities and nations! (See Acts 8:4-8 and Jonah 3:5-10). Its arrival is an amazing thing!
Jesus could have been the greatest politician in history, but through his death, He became the Redeemer of mankind. By yielding the throne of the Jews, He won that of the universe. Men wanted to make him king, but political power cannot produce righteousness. There can be no justice on earth without a cross. At first, the apostles were fearful and confused about the crucifixion, but the day soon came when the apostles were able to speak of His death as the crowning glory of His whole career. In the cross is the Victory that is the Kingdom of God!
The Kingdom is a message that brings great hope, saying, “Repent, for something wonderful is about to happen!” An extraordinary manifestation of its power will come to every person and nation, for judgment or for mercy. Jesus will come again with great glory. “The saints of the Most High shall take the Kingdom and possess it forever and ever!” (Daniel 7:18) Hebrews 12:28 tells us that we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. If we look away from the Kingdom we can be troubled seeing the ruin of political parties, institutions and countries. God weans our affections away from earthly things, establishing a people to inherit the Kingdom that belongs to those who hear and obey Him (Mt. 24:14, Dan. 4:34 & 7:18. Heb. 10:12-13 & 10:19-25, 1 Pet. 3:11-13)!