Doing God’s Will

KEY VERSE: “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye and believe the Gospel.” —Mark 1:15

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Mark 4:26-29; Matthew 22:34-40

THIS was the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He knew it was time for its start because John the Baptist, who preceded him had been put into prison. John’s service was over and now he whom John had said must increase as he decreased, knew it was God’s due time.

Jesus’ message was different than John’s. While it was based on the need for repentance, it did not emphasize the Law, but rather the Gospel of the kingdom. In a sense this was a new Gospel. True, the Jews looked for Messiah to establish a kingdom, but their expectation was that it would involve Israel as it then existed.

Jesus, on the other hand, showed little interest for those in power; in fact, he tended to be critical of them and chose for his immediate associates men who, for the most part, had no close connections to the existing administration. Rather than courting the favor of the scribes and Pharisees and those of the priestly class, he mixed with the common people, and those who were identified as publicans and sinners. Fishermen became his confidants.

We remember how Saul, a notable and adroit politician, was required, and did willingly give up his position as a Pharisee, his seat on the Sanhedrin, his political popularity, and, as he later wrote, counted them but dung for the excellency of winning Christ.—Phil. 3:8

The qualities Jesus was looking for in those who would fit into his kingdom arrangements were far different than those the world acclaims. He outlined them in his Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the poor in spirit [humble], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3) He named the sympathetic, the meek, those who hungered for righteousness, the merciful, pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who were willing to be reviled and persecuted now for the cause of his kingdom. What a contrast with the characteristics of those this world seeks for high positions.

The noble attributes sought in its rulers tell volumes about the purpose and objective of the kingdom for its subjects. Christ’s kingdom, distinct from most former kingdoms, will not rule by force of arms to maintain the allegiance of its people. Swords will be beaten into plowshares, and spears into pruninghooks.

The Scriptures indicate its subjects will seek its laws and desire its authority—people shall flow into that kingdom; nations shall say, “Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, … and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” (Isa. 2:3) What the people of earth will want in that day can best be administered by leaders who are known to be merciful, righteous, pure in heart, and strong on peace.

The strength of this kind of rulership is expressed in Isaiah’s prophecy. “Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him.” (Isa. 40:10) These words are descriptive of a sovereign, powerful government; but the subsequent symbols used to describe its program, convey a tender and loving character. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather the lambs with his arms and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”—vs. 11

The compassionate spirit of those who would qualify for this great service was exemplified so well by our Master. On a certain occasion “there came a leper to him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him; If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus moved with compassion put forth his hand” and made him clean.

Again the disposition of kingdom rulership concerning the Law was displayed by Jesus at the time he entered a synagogue on the Sabbath and said to a man with a withered hand, “Stand forth.” All eyes were critically upon him. Jesus sensing the crowd’s disapproval, said, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath?” No man spoke. And as Jesus “looked round about on them in anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand … and it was restored whole.”—Mark 3:1-5

With tenderness and patience our Master spent his strength in helping those who could not help themselves. In the kingdom there will be billions who will cry out, “Lord help me!” It will be the compassionate, the merciful, and the sympathetic, who will be there with the Lord to respond.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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