Everyone longs for the time when life is what it ought to be. We hunger for our communities to be made right and whole. When people talk about what the good life looks like, we hold up leaders we admire or time periods we consider to be the golden days.
In the first century, King David influenced Israel’s hope and identity. The people’s collective memory of David, which includes stories of his calling, his expressed love for God, and his military successes, profoundly shaped their expectations for the promised Messiah.
So as Jesus enters Jerusalem, those who line the roadside use the hopeful language of their religious tradition to welcome him. They have heard many speculate, “Is this Jesus the one we’ve been waiting for?” (Mt 11:3). In response they shout, Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David (v. 10). Hope abounds that the new kingdom they have waited for is finally beginning.
Jesus uses “kingdom” language often, referring to the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. When Christians read these terms, many immediately think about life after death. Some assume that the kingdom of God won’t arrive until the justice, peace, and righteousness for which we work and pray, the “Peaceable kingdom,” has been achieved. But Jesus says that not only is God’s kingdom not far from us, it is within us. According to Christ, the kingdom is present now.
This kingdom has already begun, even though we still long for things to be as they ought to be. In Christ we have access to another realm of life right now, another kingdom already with us and within us. Christ comes to illuminate his kingdom in which we already live. Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! (v. 9).
When do you experience kingdom moments, when your sense of God’s presence is larger than the challenges and limitations of daily life?
God, help us experience the eternal life you invite us to live now. When petty matters keep us from your larger truth, expand our hearts and vision. Amen.