By Russell Galloway
As a boy, when I read Where’s Waldo with friends, I smugly thought, “Where’s Waldo? He’s right there! How do you not see Waldo?!” So it is with Jesus. I look at skeptic, doubter, and non-believer alike and accuse, “How can you not see Him?“
In Dr. Bill Fullilove’s class, we have transitioned from the Old to New Testament and have been studying the advent of Christ’s Kingdom. The Israelites were expecting God’s Redeemer to be a strong, mighty, Roman-slaying warrior who would give the bullies a taste of their own medicine. For example, we learned that Jesus disrupted even John the Baptist’s messianic expectations. While in prison, John questioned, “Uhh, …is He the Expected One…or, is there another?”
If I’m honest. I think like John. I confess: I trust Jesus until He “lets me down.” I’m awaiting a more glittery, pain-free, zero-suffering Kingdom than the one Jesus offers. Dr. Fullilove explained the sentiment in class as, “What Kingdom? Have you seen the Washington Post?” Thankfully, Dr. Fullilove finished the story, helping us spot the volta.
Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. -- Matthew 3:2
Jesus has ushered in God’s Kingdom. Though this Kingdom’s upside down dimensions may seem elusive and even in retreat, the King is supernaturally reweaving shalom through the ordinary hands, hearts, homes, and workplaces of his saints, which is something we Fellows have witnessed through our jobs, our kind host families, and volunteering. We’ve been learning in Dr. Bill Clark’s class how God lets us co-author, as it were, the story of Christ’s Kingdom. God’s Kingdom is here, we co-author, and the Kingdom rolls forward into fullness. All the glitter is here, in a sense. And yet, there is even more glitter to come (Revelation 21 and 22).
Fellows seeks to teach us that membership in this Kingdom is good, though not always easy. We leave our expectations and come to God on his terms. A sovereign God permitted John’s jailing and beheading. Christ’s Kingdom allows for our suffering. Why? I don’t know! But, we remember the Man of Sorrows who said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” If you feel the nails, thorns, and spear digging in, you’re probably in the right Kingdom.
Capital Fellows Director, John Kyle, teaches us this Kingdom tension. While a mark of the Spirit’s fruit is a happy sort of joy, we cannot dance through life. While we are delivered unto freedom, there’s work still to be done. While we take on Christ’s light yoke, we bear a cross. I didn’t expect God’s Mighty Redeemer to bear a cross and drink a bitter cup, but He did - for us and for our salvation. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Though all weeks are holy, every Friday is Good, and every Sunday is Easter, we pause this week and particularly remember the cross. Let us come to our risen King, his blessed Kingdom, and the empty tomb by way of the cross.
Pictures from the Week