Restoring the Kingdom to Israel



In the book of Acts, we see the continuing work of Jesus, but not in the same manner as before His ascension. Jesus is not now usually visible except through His love and power being manifested through His people. The people of God are the hands and feet of Jesus or they are the fingers of a glove that is animated by Jesus Himself. In short, Jesus has bequeathed the responsibility of His manifest presence in the earth to His people in the power of His own Spirit. To put it another way, Jesus has restored the kingdom to Israel. Israel, (that is the Israel as defined as the people who receive the baptism into Jesus), has become the city set on a hill, the light of the world, and the place where heaven and earth meet and mingle. This is what the Israel of God was always made to be, and has now finally become through the gift of the Holy Spirit and the manifest presence of Jesus within His people. This is what a large portion of the second part of Luke's Gospel is about, the restoring of the Kingdom to Israel. It makes sense that the disciples, all being Jews and blood descendants of Israel, would experience shock when the gift of the Holy Spirit is poured out on uncircumcised Gentiles too (Acts 10:44-46). Circumcision was a key identity marker for whether or not you were a covenant member of the people of God, but Jesus Himself went over the head of that identity marker and confirmed these believing Gentiles as covenant members by granting them the gift of the Holy Spirit through faith alone. God was restoring the kingdom to Israel and expanding the Kingdom as was always promised, to include believing Gentiles as full covenant members, i.e. children of Israel. Peter Himself ordered that these Gentiles should be included in the covenant with Israel saying, 

"'Nobody can deny these people water to be baptized, can they? They have received the Holy Spirit, just like we did!' So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus the Messiah." Acts 10:47-49

Restoring the Kingdom to Israel looked a lot different than anyone expected, just as God's rescuing action (Jesus's death and resurrection), didn't look like what people imagined. Not only did this Kingdom function differently, it also didn't sweep all before it as was expected. It came like a mustard seed or a little leaven in a loaf of bread. And it included Gentiles. We live in the era of the Kingdom that has come and that is still coming. We live in the era where Jesus has chosen to manifest Himself primarily through His people whether Jew or Gentile. We live in the overlap of the ages where we can declare and display that the Kingdom has come but also that it is still coming. We live with the tremendous honor and privilege that Jesus wants to do His work in and through us! And He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. "And look, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20. The Kingdom has been granted to us. Does the world know what Jesus has done because of us? We are the solution, that is, Christ in us. Now, what is the problem? 

#restoringtheKingdomtoIsrael #JewsandGentiles

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The Gospel for Planet Earth, USA