“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit” Matthew 27:50
So much of the Kingdom life goes against what makes sense to us. This is the Kingdom where the least become the first, where the hurting become healed, where sinners are welcomed by grace and where we are called to live by principles and values that go radically against all that the world holds dear. And so it is that in the Kingdom victory comes through death.
Death. The end of life. Defeat to everyone with an earthly perspective. After death there could be no more hope for you. Your ideas and your message would soon fade from memory. You could no longer achieve anything. Once you have breathed your last that is it. Your chance to achieve things has gone. There can be no second chance. Death is final and death is the end.
But in the upside down, subversive way of the Kingdom that God invites us all to be a part of, victory comes through death. We have all been invited to enter the Kingdom through the narrow gate. We have all received that call to receive the grace and mercy of forgiveness, that great unearnable and undeserved gift freely offered to us all. But the gift is not without cost. The Kingdom life is possible because of the ultimate price paid by Jesus. On a hill called Golgotha on the outskirts of Jerusalem, flanked by two criminals Jesus was nailed to a cross, the innocent spotless Lamb taking our place. As He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5) it looked to be the ultimate defeat. He had spoken of the Kingdom that He was to establish and of the Father who He trusted. He spoke of forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. And now He was dying on a cross, the ultimate sinner’s death. There would be no kingdom for His life was ending in defeat. The crowd acknowledged this, mockingly crying out “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.” (Matthew 27:42)
But it was His death that brought Kingdom victory. As he died on the cross Jesus paid in full the debt of our sin. His blood poured out for us was what has opened the narrow gate for us to enter the Kingdom. In an act of amazing grace Jesus took our place, the sinless spotless One suffering death on the cross to set us free. He made the one complete and all sufficient sacrifice that would cover the vast debt of our sin, the debt we could never hope to repay by anything we could do. He didn’t have to, but He chose to. We hadn’t done anything to deserve it, but out of love He took the nails for us. And through His death Kingdom victory was won as the power of sin and Hell over our lives was defeated.
Because of the cross we can have forgiveness for our sin and rebellion against God. Because of the cross we can have everlasting Kingdom life. Because of the cross the chains that kept us bound in despair and death can be broken. Because of the Cross we can be adopted in as sons and daughters of our loving Father, the Father who so loved the world that He sent His Son to die in our place, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life in the Kingdom. The cross was not a mark of defeat, but is the symbol of Kingdom victory.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8
- Have you put your faith in Jesus?
- In what ways has the cross brought victory in your life?
- Who do you need to share the message of Kingdom victory with today, and how will you take steps to do so?