What a wonderful, exciting concept, the kingdom of God, why is it so misunderstood? In the time when Jesus taught, a king would be universally understood as someone with authority ruling his kingdom from a throne. And yet it has become spiritualized as being something in your heart.
Jesus the Softie
I was listening to a program on the radio this afternoon while trying to nap. They were discussing how God was the strict one demanding “an eye for an eye” but Christ, his son, came and changed all that, he promoted the peaceful, non-violent approach of ” if someone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek also”. They hastened to add that great pacifists like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi endorsed Jesus’ approach.
I have no idea of who the speaker was but she constantly referred to Jesus as Christ. People often do that if they want to come across as to being important or at least what they say as being important. I have no idea what the speaker believed because I tuned out at that point, thinking how ironic, she had the key to understanding the real Jesus and what those verses really meant.
To the man on the street at that time it would have been clear that when Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God they would assume he was speaking of a real government, like the Roman government that they were all under at that time even if they didn’t know who this “God” was. The Jews knew from the writings of the prophets that it would be a real kingdom based in Jerusalem whose King would be Jesus. He was anointed, that is officially appointed. So Jesus was the messiah in Hebrew or christ in Greek.
The disciples at Antioch were first called Christians by the locals because these disciples were still excited about the kingdom with Jesus “christed”as the king – no wonder the people of Antioch called them Christians!
Jewish society at time saw that the Roma government was still there. so that means that Jesus had not set up a kingdom. Which means he could not have the king, i.e. he was not the messiah. They rejected him on these grounds, for them messiah had the literal meaning, not the modern day meaning of savior.