Something about that name

Revelation 11:15
At first, when I read today’s verse, I thought of the hymn that says, “Kings and kingdoms will all pass away. But there’s something about that name.”

As I reflected longer, I realized there’s more to it.

The world has kingdoms and the world has a kingdom. Kingdoms are the political, social and even religious governing systems we experience. Kingdoms, of course, have kings or rulers. Each lord maintains their order in their way. History demonstrates how often that power brings harm and death to others. Peasants and lowly citizens often bear the most burden. They fight the wars that satisfy the power appetites of their rulers.

Of course, they are never satisfied. And so history repeats itself. New kings have new yet familiar ways. Some more brutal than others. Their kingdoms rely on strong and subtle expressions of force and intimidation. These kingdoms don’t glorify God because they can’t. The Lord’s way of victory doesn’t match theirs. And they are not willing to learn the difference.

So, yes, those kingdoms do pass away. And yet the kingdom they reflect does not. I’m not sure what else to call it. I’ll use John’s terminology. It’s the kingdom of the world. This kingdom is what makes all those other kingdoms so familiar. Every king or tyrant pictures themselves as a grand leader. In reality, they are puppets of the world’s kingdom.

This kingdom lasts. We see it even today. Our modern world hasn’t escaped its control. Now, we don’t see kings, queens and thrones like we used to. That may confuse us.

But anytime someone chooses to exploit another human being, that kingdom is working. When we experience an unwillingness to address injustice, it’s the kingdom. If “the poor will always be with you” is an excuse to ignore the problems we magnify for the poor, kingdom.

That kingdom is strong. Its malleability is its greatest strength.

Thanks be to God, the kingdom may be able to take new shapes, but God’s shape, the cross, wins. John’s vision affirms “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah” (Revelation 11:15). The sure victory of Jesus turns our allegiance away from the kingdom and its stooge kingdoms.

Now, we discover how the shape of the cross overcomes the way of the world. Sacrifice, humility, compassion, forgiveness and justice are the strengths we seek. We submit to make the shape of the cross our way of life, too. All this because we know kings and kingdoms will pass away. But there’s something about that name that bore that cross.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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