By Tan Lay Leng
“I ain’t see anything yet,” Gary Lim writes on his facebook feed. He is referring to the kingdom of God. Quoting the words of Jesus in John 3:3, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”, Gary confesses that he may have been born again for almost 20 years but he believes what he has seen and experienced of the kingdom of God is very superficial.
I echo his sentiments! There is so much to discover about the rule and reign of our King. Having embarked on this little journey of discovery with several others during this circuit breaker, I have been rewarded with “wondrous things” in the word of God that my eyes are opened to see (Psalm 119:18).
It all started on Resurrection Sunday 2020 when Ps Henson, led to read Acts 1:3, wrote a reflection “Beyond Resurrection: The Next 40 Days”, sharing his prayer, “…beyond the celebration of the resurrection today, this is my prayer for the next 40 days – that there will be a fresh revelation of the kingdom of God to disciples of Jesus Christ.”
“to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3
Drawing from Acts 1:3, Ps Henson explains that yes, Jesus is risen, but for His disciples then, it took some time for the reality of the resurrection to hit home. For this reason, Jesus “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs”. Over the course of 40 days, He was seen by many of them and He spent every other moment “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God”.
So Ps Henson has extended an invitation to saturate our feeds with kingdom proclamations over 40 days, from 12 April 2020 to 21 May 2020. He challenges, “Instead of counting the days to the end of “circuit breaker” season, would it not be more profitable to focus on the kingdom instead? Don’t waste the space.”
And things have got quite exciting as different ones have started to post “different-but-same-same” reflections! God is speaking to His children in amazing ways.
Sharing the same John 3:3 verse, Valerie Wee, who lives in New Zealand, builds on what Gary shares, “Unless we are born again in Christ (quickened by the Spirit of God), where we experience a spiritual rebirth, we will not be able to see, comprehend, and experience the kingdom of God.”
Speaking of spiritual rebirth, Sue-Ann reflects on Matthew 18:3, sharing how precious childlike initiatives of praise towards God are.
Expressing her heartfelt sentiments, Sue-Ann writes, “As an adult, we can grow hard-hearted and calloused in our hearts. Jaded by experiences and shutting people out. No longer having a heart of openness and vulnerability because we don’t want to be hurt or taken advantage of by others. No longer having a heart of faith to believe and trust God because we think we are being illogical if we just believe “blindly”. But Jesus says that we cannot receive the kingdom if we do not have hearts like little children. He says, do not hinder little children from receiving Him. His command is that one generation is to commend His works to the next generation.”
Amen. What a wonderful reminder. Ps Joel Acaso from the Philippines gives us another great reminder to focus on the ‘correct’ kingdom. In John 18:36, responding to a question from Pilate if He was the King of the Jews, Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Ps Joel’s timely reflection in this pandemic helps realign our focus on the kingdom of God rather than on the stop of the pandemic so that everything may be back to ‘normal’. What is this ‘normal’ or ‘new normal’ that we are looking at?
Ps Henson puts it this way, “When reading Scriptures, may the words of the King ring ever more clearly and powerfully, opening eyes, convicting hearts and renewing minds. More than just waiting to get back to church as usual, that we would wait – crave! – for the Spirit of the Christ to be outpoured again upon all believers What a new normal that’d be!” Amen.
I love what Valerie shares in another reflection of hers about Matthew 13:44-46, “…when we think about the kingdom of God, it may initially not draw your attention when you first hear about it, but if you were to go beyond to find out more about God and the message of the Good News, you will find that it is worth more than anything else you can possibly desire. A treasure and pearl that you would not exchange for anything else.”
On the morning of this writing, I found myself intrigued by the ways of our King as I read Acts 28:30-31.
As a prisoner (see Acts 28:16-20), Paul was not allowed to go out to the places of the cities or the synagogues preaching the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of God continued to be preached in the confinement of his house to all who could access to him. Paul might be restrained in a restricted zone yet the kingdom of God is furthered without hindrance and restrictions! Paul might be enclosed inside a house but his doors are always open! The kingdom of God cannot be stopped!
After sharing this reflection, I received a message from Ps Henson that he had read the same two verses in Acts 28.
In his reflection, he shares his insights, “The book of Acts starts and ends with the kingdom of God: firstly, Jesus speaking the things pertaining to (peri) the kingdom; and then finally, Paul teaching the things which concern (peri) the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul may have been ‘locked down’ but he was definitely not knocked down. He kept on preaching and teaching about the king and His kingdom. And those ‘stuck’ with him had no choice but to listen to the good news of the kingdom.
Aren’t we also confined in our homes somewhat? How are we spending our circuit breaker time? Are we using this opportunity to introduce Jesus and His kingdom to all in our households?
You are invited to hop onto the #perikingdom2020 wagon to focus on the kingdom of God together.
Here’s briefly how to do it :
1. Read a verse/passage about the kingdom of God
2. Ask Holy Spirit to reveal kingdom perspectives & principles
3. Reflect and align with the kingdom
Post verse and short reflection on your own feed (photo optional – download/copy/use my theme pix also can) – set post as “public”. Tag with #perikingdom2020 (peri:about, concerning; 20+20:40).