Learn & Grow
Pastor Dave’s Bible Study
Jesus and the Kingdom of God • A year-long study of the central focus of the Holy Scriptures
Tuesday Mornings, 9:30–11:00 a.m.
In-person or on Zoom
Beginning Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Wednesday Evenings, 7:00–8:00 p.m.
Beginning Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Everywhere you look in the Gospels you find the words “the Kingdom,” “Kingdom of God,” and “the Kingdom of Heaven.” It seems these words come from the lips of Jesus on every page. More surprisingly, perhaps, is the fact that Jesus talks more about Kingdom matters than he talks about sin. Popular theology is all about sin, while the idea of the kingdom remains foggy. Why is this? Perhaps because the church finds it easier to talk about sin than it does “the Kingdom.” There could be good reason for that. Nowhere is the concept defined. What is the Kingdom of God? Where can we find it? How do we get into it? Jesus never gives us a concise definition of “the kingdom.”
Why not? The best answer seems to be that it was assumed that everybody in Jesus’s day had some understanding of what Jesus was talking about. In the past, I have compared this idea to the modern handshake. The handshake needs no explanation. Everybody already knows what a handshake is all about. Similarly, the people of Jesus’s circle all had a pretty good idea of what the Kingdom of God was all about. The Kingdom of God is not something new brought to us by Jesus; rather, it has deep roots going back to Moses. Further, we can only assume that, if the words appear on the lips of Jesus page after page after page, “the Kingdom” is of essential importance to the cross Jesus was to bear. If “the Kingdom” is indispensable to Jesus, it must speak to the cross and offer to us a us deeper understanding of Jesus’s desires and purpose.
Time and history have diminished much of the memory, but it is still possible, necessary even, for us to retrieve an appreciation and sensitivity of “the Kingdom.” If we continue to ignore this central tenet of our faith, our faith and our faith journey will continue to lack depth and meaningful purpose. If the church universal has diminished the centrality of “the Kingdom,” it is up to us to rescue and reclaim it.
As you already know, this will be the last year I teach scripture as a CPC staff member. I have thought long and hard about how to wrap things up. In a sense, I have wondered what parting gift I might leave “my” congregation. To me, this class is that gift.
Admittedly, the topic of the Kingdom of God demands we bring our very best mind, heart, and spirit to the table. The topic itself is expansive, covering centuries of biblical material taking us through much of the Hebrew Scriptures and all of the New Testament. The topic demands we bring a willingness to see Jesus as more than a “Forgiver-in-Chief” or a Jewish version of Santa Claus who blesses us with stuff. Above all, it demands that we consider where we locate Jesus in our everyday life and living.
I do not wish to deceive anyone; if you are considering joining in this course of study, know that it will be a challenge. Still, everyone is welcome. I hope and pray you will consider attending. Sign up at the Kiosk in Cloister Hall or call the church office to register.
Your brother in Christ,