It’s not hard to see that we live in a messed up world. Wars, famines, abuse, broken families, and even our own hearts are corrupt and full of desires that are not for our good. Pure motives, true justice and mercy, and sacrificial love can not characterize a single country on this earth. We all know in our hearts that this is not what life was meant to be, and we get glimpses of what existence should be in the love of our dearest friends, the peace of a gentle sunrise, and the exultation of a perfect summer’s day.
The holy scriptures say that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The holy, all-powerful, all-knowing, transcendent, all-good God spoke the world into existence. “The Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” He put the first man and woman in a perfect, beautiful garden that was very good. He entrusted the earth’s care to them and charged them to be kings and queens over it—ambassadors of the divine. But they rebelled and chose selfishness instead of obeying their Creator. Their choice separated them from God and with it brought sin and death into the world. Because we are their children we inherited their sin and selfishness, and as a result, all creation groans under the weight of mankind’s rebellion from our Holy Creator.
But God didn’t give up on His creation. Even as the earth was heavy with the weight of sin and separation, He called one man to establish a people that would bring God’s presence back to the earth. He delivered the descendants of this man out of bondage and oppression, not because of their righteousness, but because of his love and faithfulness. God’s people rebelled again and again, and God called them back to himself again and again. The people raised up kings to rule and unify them, but even the best of their kings was a murderer and lawbreaker. It was clear that mankind was desperately in need of a righteous king who would be obedient to the commands of God, and restore God’s relationship with man. Prophets rose up among the people of God and foretold the arrival of this perfect, anointed king who would restore peace, justice, and righteousness, but still the people continued in the darkness and oppression of sin.
At last, he came, but not like anyone expected. God himself “became flesh and dwelt among us.” He came not as a conquering king, but as an infant who grew to be a humble man named Jesus. Jesus is the anointed king who established the kingdom of God on earth. He didn’t come conquering enemies with the sword, but with sacrificial love. He called people to repent from their rebellion and sins, not just sins of the body like murder, sexual immorality, and theft, but also sins of the soul–anger, lust, and hypocrisy. To his followers’ dismay, but in accordance with the prophetic scriptures, he was tortured and killed by the state authorities even though he himself was sinless. But if that was the end of the story, I wouldn’t be telling it. After three days in the grave, Jesus conquered death itself and rose from the dead. One of his close friends wrote that “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” In his new resurrected body lies the hope that we too will be raised in new bodies and live as we were created to be–in perfect, joyful relationship with our Creator God.
Because of Jesus, we can already begin to live in the kingdom of God, but it’s not yet here in its fullness. After the resurrection, Jesus returned to Heaven, but the Scripture says that “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.” Jesus will return as the righteous judge, and in the meantime we are called to “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.” Jesus’ dear friend and follower John wrote about what that restoration will be like: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Even though the kingdom of Jesus is not yet manifest on the earth, we can choose to live in it and spread the good news of this kingdom of light even while we wait for Jesus Christ’s return.
Jesus himself is calling you to become a citizen of his kingdom! He’s calling you to repent, turn away from pursuing your own self, and pursue the glory of God. The scriptures say “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,” and that “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It’s not an easy way, Jesus doesn’t want us to follow him without understanding the cost. He said: “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? . . So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Jesus does not promise ease, but he does promise salvation, eternal life, and forgiveness of our sins. Will you join him?
 Genesis 1:1. All Scripture quotes taken from the ESV
 Genesis 2:7
 John 1:14
 I Peter 2:24
 I Thessalonians 4:16
 Acts 3:19-21
 Revelation 21:3b-4
 Acts 16:31
 Romans 6:23
 Luke 14:28, 33