The Disciple’s Vocation, Part 2: Kingdom Sowers

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The Disciple’s Vocation, Part 2: Kingdom Sowers

PAX ET SECURITAS, ‘Peace and security.’ PAX ROMANA, ‘Roman Peace.’ These were Rome’s promises. But the road between Capua and Rome seemed anything but peaceful that day in 71 B.C. as 6,000 dead and dying men lined the 120-mile span, the last prisoners of Spartacus’ slave revolt.[1] About every hundred feet, one would have seen a rebel grotesquely crucified, either groaning as life slowly ebbed from his limbs or rotting in silent death. This was Rome’s warning to those who would defy her will.

Rome followed the typical playbook for worldly powers: threaten and force, decree and enforce, subdue and exploit, reward loyalty, punish resistance. And ironically, like Spartacus, those wishing to overthrow them always strove to defeat their oppressors using the same weapons, to beat them at their own game. “That’s just how power works,” people thought. That is, until Jesus came.

Many remembered John the Baptist’s appeal, “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2). Of course, the Jews had always hoped for this—a Messiah that could overthrow their pagan overlords and establish Israel’s kingdom in renewed glory. But when Jesus explained what He meant by the “kingdom of heaven,” many were confused to hear its true nature, not least the disciples. To them, Jesus explained:

“You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:42-45).

This clearly shows that Jesus has a completely different way of doing power than the world. [2]

Jesus also calls us into a completely different humanity than the world, the form He intended for us from the beginning. In His “new creation,” we follow Christ out of Adam’s doom and into His glory: “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (2 Cor 5:17, 1 Cor 15:49). Rome says, ‘Fortune favors the bold;’ Christ says, “Blessed are the meek.” Rome says, ‘To the victor go the spoils;’ Christ says, “blessed are the merciful.” Rome says, “Hate your enemy,” Christ says, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:5, 7, 44). Christ restores true humanity to us.

In our newfound existence, we don’t just keep the kingdom to ourselves but want as many to join as possible. We want Christ to sow the gospel seed in the hearts of others just as He did for us. So we let the Spirit use us as sowers for the kingdom, always praying and working the ground so the seed might land on good soil, producing grain (Matt 13:1-9, 18-23). We desire this seed to grow in a new believer’s heart until he or she springs up to sow alongside us, joining what Paul calls “fellowship in the gospel” (Phil 1:5).

Too often, we think of the kingdom as something arriving only in the future, reducing it to mere talk. However, “the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power” (1 Cor 4:20). True, we await the second coming for the kingdom’s “full establishment.” Yet, “the kingdom of God’s grace is now being established.”[3] It’s “inaugurated but not fully consummated.”[4] May we live in Christ’s kingdom completely surrendered, doing His work until the final harvest. And during a time of heightened political, social, and cultural tension in the world, may we always remember where our first loyalty lies.

Read the rest of this series on discipleship.

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Notes.

[1] Appian, The Civil Wars, translated by Horace White (London: Macmillan and Co., 1899), 120:1.

[2] N.T. Wright, How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels (New York: HarperOne, 2012), 158-172.

[3] E.G. White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press, 1955), 108.

[4] Wright, 188.

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About the author

Nathan Mckee

Nathan McKee is a business professional with a passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, lay-led ministry, and discipleship. He lives in Collegedale, Tennessee with his wife, Bethany, and son, Henry.