Kings and kingdoms. History is built on them. From Alexander to Ashoka, from Genghis Khan to Akbar; we are fascinated by the stories of their rise and fall, the battles they fought, the lands they conquered. So what makes a kingdom great? And is there a kingdom that is still advancing its territories?
It was Sunday. In Jerusalem, the disciples of Jesus were locked inside a room for fear of getting caught. They were yet to reconcile with the gruesome killing of Jesus. It was just a week ago when large crowds were cheering for him, hailing him as the coming king. They had hoped that he would finally overthrow the oppressive Roman kingdom and establish one of his own. Ironically it was the same empire that crucified him a week later. Now all they could do was stare into the darkness of uncertainty. But they were wrong!
Early that morning, few women went to the tomb where Jesus was laid. They were shocked to see the tomb open. The Roman seal was broken. The body of Jesus was missing!
Something extraordinary had happened! Jesus had risen from the dead.
They ran to tell the others. Over the next few days Jesus appeared to his disciples in his resurrected body. They talked to him and ate with him. Death was defeated. Sin was conquered. A new kingdom was born!
During his trial, Jesus had asserted that he was the son of God. It seemed blasphemous for the religious leaders because he equated himself with God. But it was not unusual those days to claim to be the son of God. Many ancient rulers took on this title to represent divine authority. Augustus Caesar, the Roman emperor when Jesus was born, was one of them. He had brought peace in his empire by crushing dissenting voices with a heavy hand. His military conquests helped him expand his empire and establish a dynasty. In contrast, Jesus preached the Kingdom of God, a kingdom that was for the humble, the meek, the ones who would love and forgive. Unlike the Caesars, Jesus humbled himself and washed his disciples’ feet. He was a radically different king. He came to serve and not to be served. He allowed his enemies to overpower him, to mock him and kill him.
The Roman empire vanished after a few centuries but Jesus’ kingdom continues to change lives even today.
The reality of Resurrection changed the life of the disciples. They became courageous and all their uncertainties vanished. After Jesus ascended to heaven, they went about proclaiming the good news of God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus. Many went on to become martyrs for Jesus. Fear of death could no longer paralyse them.
That is the hope of Easter. A hope beyond death. Because Jesus lives, we can also live forever.
God is inviting us to be rescued from the kingdom of darkness and fear and be transferred into the Kingdom of his dear Son, Jesus. Because unlike the unstable political systems of today, this is a kingdom that will last forever.
An Unshakable kingdom! An Unchanging King!