Today’s passage: John 18:28–40
Focus verse: “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)
Jesus talks often about his kingdom. John, along with Mark and Luke, uses the phrase kingdom of God, while Matthew prefers the kingdom of heaven. The two phrases mean the same thing. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll use kingdom of God.
Kingdom of God is a New Testament phrase. Jesus mentions the kingdom of God in eighty-five verses, with fourteen more in the rest of the New Testament and none in the Old.
Isn’t kingdom of God a reference to heaven and eternal life? If so, how could it have been near two millennia ago but something we expect in our future today?
We must view the kingdom of God as both a present reality and a future promise. Jesus’s kingdom is about heaven when we die. It’s also about our time here on earth today.
The kingdom of God starts with Jesus and his salvation, along with the life we lead in response to his gift to us.
The kingdom of God is about eternal life, and that eternal life begins now. Heaven is part two. We’re living in part one today—at least we should be.
Let’s embrace Jesus’s teaching on the kingdom of God to inform how we act today. He uses parables to teach us what he means.
Although John records none of Jesus’s parables, Matthew, Mark, and Luke do. Here are the parables concerning Jesus’s kingdom:
- The weeds (Matthew 13:24–30)
- Planting and harvesting seed (Mark 4:26–29)
- The mustard seed (Matthew 13:31–32, Mark 4:31–32, and Luke 13:18–19)
- Yeast (Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:20–21)
- Hidden treasure (Matthew 13:44)
- The pearl (Matthew 13:45–46)
- The net (Matthew 13:47–50)
- Settling accounts (Matthew 18:23–35 and Matthew 25:14–30)
- Workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1–16)
- The wedding banquet (Matthew 22:2–14)
- Ten virgins (Matthew 25:1–13)
We should use these kingdom of God parables to inform our view of God and grow our relationship with him and others. Jesus tells us to seek his kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). We should listen and obey.
- How can you better understand the kingdom of God?
- What does it mean to be part of his kingdom?
- How can you view the kingdom of God as both a present reality and a future promise?
- Which of Jesus’s parables about the kingdom of God most connects with you? Why?
- How do Jesus’s parables on the kingdom of God apply to us today?
Discover more about God’s kingdom in John 3:1–21. What insights can you glean from this passage?
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Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.