Five Ways God's Kingdom Is Different #3

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It Is All Backwards

Timothy Gombis, in his book The Drama of Ephesians, talks at length about how completely different the Kingdom of God is. Power demonstrated through weakness.

Throughout John's Gospel, Jesus has opportunities to assert himself and conduct his ministry by grabbing headlines and making impressive displays of power. Each time he says, "My hour has not yet come"; this is not the way that God is glorified in him. Nearer to the end of his ministry, however, Jesus begins to recognize that his hour has come. The time to glorify the Father has arrived. How does Jesus do that?"

As John says, "Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end."

And he washes their feet.

Don't read past that. Sit there for a minute.

He could have done anything at all, at this end of his life, and he serves in the most demeaning way possible.

There is no way you can prepare for a king that backwards.

But keep going. As Jesus finishes praying in Gethsemane, "he looked up to heaven and said, 'Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you. . . .'"

And it is easy for me to read that as, "Because I'm about to be resurrected and will eventually have every knee bow." I read that as a statement of final exaltation.

But Gombis would argue that my reading is faulty. Because we worship Jesus, who triumphed over principalities and powers through dying.

That's not the way the world triumphs.

When David fought Goliath, he killed Goliath. He didn't win by having Goliath kill him! It's ridiculous.

It is backwards.

  • So next time your baby decides to finger paint with the contents of his diaper, and you clean it up;
  • So next time your children, after playing happily all morning, have a sudden, sharp disagreement that ends in screams, tears, or maybe worse, and you go to help them find the way of peace;
  • So next time you hit your 4 o'clock slump, when it's a long time yet for the husband to come home and dinner is not yet begun, and you start it anyway;
  • So next time you teach your fidgeting children, because you love them and want good things for them;

Don't think that is nothing.

Because in the backwards kingdom of God, this is how God's power is manifested. Through the little things done in love.

There is a beautiful verse in Ephesians 3. Paul says that he has been given the grace to preach Christ, to tell the things that have been hidden, "that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places."

The picture I have is of faithful service in small things, and the rulers and authorities (however defined) are watching in awe.

The little things you do for Christ matter in the heavenlies.

It is backwards. But I am thankful for it.


Amy's pic

Amy Lykosh
John and Sarita's oldest daughter
Second-generation Sonlighter
Homeschooling mom to five

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