The Kingdom that Cannot Fail
The old covenant and kingdom fell short of perfection yet it did point to the need for something better and enduring. Something only Jesus could bring.
They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. Judges 2:13-14a
I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. Luke 7:28
Jesus came announcing the arrival of the kingdom of God. He demonstrated His power by healing a Gentile servant of a Roman centurion and raising a dead man (just to take the examples in today’s reading). Word spread about Jesus, and the people were both fearful and joyful. God was visiting His people.
The disciples of John the Baptist came asking for clarification. Was Jesus the Messiah? Jesus’ answer gave no doubt He was and is. So, what are we to make of the ministry of John the Baptist?
Jesus said that John was unsurpassed among all mankind. His ministry marked the end of the era of the old covenant kingdom with its symbolic priesthood, earthly temple, feast days, and sacrifices. Something new had come: the kingdom of God and the new covenant. So new and different are these that Jesus could say that the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than the one who was greatest under the old covenant and kingdom.
Our reading in Judges underscores the failure of Israel under the old covenant. The nation started badly and continued with more downs than ups. They ignored God’s commands and mixed with the pagans who had been marked for extermination. The people worshiped false gods abandoning the true and living God, Yahweh, who had delivered them from Egypt and opened the Promised Land to them.
Think about it
The old covenant and kingdom fell far short of perfection yet it did point to the need for something that only Jesus could bring — the kingdom of God. We must enter that kingdom by faith in Him. Charles Wesley’s great hymn “Rejoice, the Lord is King” says it well:
His kingdom cannot fail, He rules o’er earth and Heav’n, The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus giv’n; Lift up your heart, lift up your voice; Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
Are you in?