It was a political phrase which stood in complete opposition of the political parties in power. It was a phrase that was filled with so much meaning that those who would try to live it out would most likely lose their lives. There was one King in the World and his name was Caesar. There was one power center and it was in Rome. Anyone who disagreed with this belief or tried to usurp the authority of Rome would be crushed. No exceptions. Yet on a little hillside in Judea a young man named Jesus announced “kingdom first.” Matthew 6:33
Through the centuries we have watered down this statement which Jesus made about the Kingdom to mean something completely different than what it meant when Jesus said it. Jesus was not encouraging people to make their personal spiritual experiences a priority. As important as these experiences might be, Jesus had something even more revolutionary in mind. Jesus was announcing a new political power. Pastor and theologian Greg Boyd said that “Jesus came to establish the kingdom of God as a radical alternative to all versions of the kingdoms of the world.” What this meant on the practical side was this new kingdom was not concerned with promoting or necessarily helping the kingdoms of the World accomplish their purposes. Making Rome great was not the priority of a Kingdom first person. Kingdom first people were to make God great. Prior to the Roman emperor Constantine the church understood what Jesus meant on the Sermon on the Mount when he said seek first the kingdom. It took courage to be a Kingdom first Christians.
May Kingdom first be our battle cry. Although the affairs and rulers of the World are not our priority may we pray for the peace and tranquility of our communities. May we love all that God has placed before us. May we seek not to make our communities better but be the better communities so that we may attract people to a kingdom that is not fading but will last forever. The revolution has begun. The battle cry is kingdom first!
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