The Global Inclusiveness of the Kingdom of God

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“And people will come from all over the world—from east and west, north and south—to take their places in the Kingdom of God.”

Luke 13:29

The Jewish contemporaries of Jesus took pride in their privileged position as God’s chosen people. In their visions of the kingdom of God, the Lord would expel the Romans from the land of Israel and rule over his people forever. Some of these perspectives included people from other nations (for example, Isaiah 49:1-6). But others excluded the Gentiles from God’s future kingdom.

Jesus offered an unsettlingly different vision of the kingdom of God. Those who presumed upon their special position as God’s chosen ones would be excluded from the kingdom (13:24-28). Yet, Jesus explained, “people will come from all over the—world from east and west, north and south to—take their places in the Kingdom of God” (13:29). His vision of the kingdom reflected that found in the Old Testament prophets. Isaiah, for example, prophesied: “In the last days...people from many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’...The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” (2:2-4).

Today, we are seeing the global inclusiveness of the kingdom of God as never before in human history. People are, quite literally, coming from “east and west, north and south” to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and to begin living as citizens of the kingdom of God. The center of gravity of the Christian church has moved into the southern hemisphere, where Christian faith continues to flourish even as it struggles in Western Europe and, increasingly, North America.

Luke 13 reminds us to rejoice over the worldwide growth of the church. We can be encouraged and challenged by believers from different cultures to understand and live more consistently as citizens of the kingdom of God. We should rejoice by expanding partnerships with Christians from across the globe. What an encouragement it is to see ourselves as parts of God’s global reclamation project. Moreover, Luke 13 reminds us to reflect the broad, inclusive love of Jesus in our own lives, as we seek to bear witness to the Gospel in word and in deed.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways have you experienced the global inclusiveness of God’s kingdom? Have you learned anything from or been challenged by Christians from other cultures? How are you participating in the worldwide mission of the kingdom?

PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for the global inclusiveness of your kingdom. Thank you for the opportunity we have today to see people coming to you from east and west, north and south. How good it is to be part of your church in this extraordinary time of history.

Help me to live each day as a global Christian, aware of what you are doing in this world and participating by doing that to which you have called me. Whether I’m doing my job or mowing my lawn, whether I’m ushering at church or volunteering at school, may my “mustard seed” efforts contribute to the growth of your kingdom.

May your Gospel continue to spread throughout the earth, drawing people to you from every corner of creation. All praise be to you, Lord of the nations! Amen.