The upside-down kingdom
Mark 12:18-37 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Some Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection) came to Jesus, and began questioning Him, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves behind a wife and does not leave a child, his brother is to marry the wife and raise up children for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no children. 21 The second one married her, and died leaving behind no children; and the third likewise; 22 and so the seven together left no children. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection, which one’s wife will she be? For each of the seven had her as his wife.” 24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 But regarding the fact that the dead rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.”
28 One of the scribes came up and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no other besides Him; 33 and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And then, no one dared any longer to question Him.
35 And Jesus responded and began saying, as He taught in the temple area, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself said in the Holy Spirit,
‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand,
Until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”’
37 David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; so in what sense is He his son?” And the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him.
In today’s text it says: Jesus responded and began saying, as He taught in the temple area, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”’ David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; so in what sense is He his son?” Jesus answers His own question within the question itself. When David referred to Him as Lord, it was in the Spirit. David did not see Jesus as a man. He saw Christ as Lord. It is in the natural realm that Jesus is recognized as a son of David. That though is to fulfill another spiritual prophecy which said David’s line would be on the throne forever. That succession of kings ended in the natural realm, but continues forever through Christ in the heavenly realm. We live in the natural world, but we also are part of the eternal spiritual world, the kingdom of heaven. Too often we tend to view heaven from the perspective of earth. We try to comprehend God from our finite perspective, with our natural minds. John 4:24 says: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” It is the Holy Spirit who enables and allows us to see and know truth, to comprehend God more fully.
In John 16:8-15 Jesus says: “When He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged… when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” The kingdom of heaven is sometimes called an upside-down kingdom because in things and many ways it is the opposite of the way the world is. In truth though, it is the world that is upside down. Without the Holy Spirit, there is no conviction of sin; there is no understanding of righteousness; there is no knowledge of truth. We see then that the world embraces darkness over light, evil over good and immorality and lawlessness over righteousness. In John 3:16, perhaps the most familiar evangelical verse in all of scripture, Jesus says: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” We should not stop there though. It is vital that we also know what Jesus says in verses 17-21: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God.”
Jesus taught us to pray saying: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Revelation 21:1-4 says: I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” In the new heaven and earth, there will be no more tears, no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain. What do you think, do any of those exist in heaven today? Isn’t it our world then that is upside down?
Holy Spirit guide me in truth. Turn my world upside down, that I might understand things from the perspective of heaven. Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give me this day my daily bread. And forgive my debts, as I forgive my debtors. And do not lead me into temptation, But deliver me from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.