Saturday, 13 April 2013

Exegetical Fragments...The Gospel's as the story of Jesus becoming King

The gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke begin and end with discussion about Jesus as king.  He is feared and persecuted by the rulers and authorities both at his birth and at his death because of the claims that he is a king.  With the gospels bracketing the life and ministry of Jesus at beginning and end with controversy and discussion over his kingship, it is reasonable to conclude that the kingship of Jesus factors heavily into the central record of the life of Jesus recorded in the gospels as well.  In other words, if Matthew and Luke focus on the kingship of God in Christ at the start and end of their accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus, it makes good sense to see the rest of their gospel narratives as expanding on or pertaining to this theme of kingship as well.

Of course this is the case, especially in Matthew’s emphasis on the “Kingdom of Heaven”, which really means not the place where disciples of Christ go when they die, but the rule of God, the kingship of God.  In and through Jesus, God is both announcing and (re)establishing his kingship in the world.  God has always been sovereign over all but, in his longsuffering, he has permitted rebellion to go on for sometime as he has simultaneously prepared the historical stage for the entrance of the King and prepared the conditions for the message of the King to spread far and wide, to the whole earth, and not just to the people of Israel who ought to have recognized the King as their king.

[It should be noted that both Mark and John also discuss the controversy over Jesus’ kingship at the end of their gospels as well, especially John, where it is a prominent part of his narrative.  Rightly understood, among other things, the beginning of John’s gospel establishes the right of Jesus to the kingship that he claims at the end of the gospel.]

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