The Rest of the Story – Part 2

We have been exploring why Jesus came.  We know He came to die for our sins, to ransom us from the enemy, and to show us the Father.  But there is still more.  He came to restore His kingdom here on earth.  He wants this world to run according to the rules of His kingdom.  That means walking in perfect love, no killing, no lying, no worshipping any other God but the One True God – Yahweh, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.  And there is no sickness in heaven!

Now don’t get me wrong.  God always had authority here.  Psalm 24:1 declares, The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.  But the earth was not running according to His Divine Plan.  It still isn’t.

To explore this aspect of His purpose, we really should start at the beginning, in the garden.  We’ve explored this before, but it is worth repeating.

When God created the earth, and everything on it, He saw that it was good.  Then He created man, and gave him dominion over the earth.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1: 26-28 NKJV)

Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “Dominion is a noun that means the right to govern or rule over something.”  Mankind was given the right – and responsibility – to govern the earth, and “the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Satan and the fallen angels were cast out of heaven to earth.  They were still powerful beings, but they had no authority here on earth.  AND SATAN WANTED THAT!  He also wanted worship.  That’s why he and his followers were thrown out of heaven!  His plan – take mankind’s authority to rule and get control of this earth.  And that’s just what he accomplished when Adam and Eve committed treason and believed him over their Creator, Who loved them and walked and talked with them in the cool of the day.

When Jesus died, Satan thought he had won, but all his celebrating ended on Resurrection Day.  His plan had backfired.  Not only did Jesus die to ransom us from Satan’s kingdom and authority, but He took back the keys to death and hell.  In Matthew 28, Jesus is with His followers after His resurrection.  Jesus declares to them,  All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  And then Jesus tells them to use His authority to spread the good news of salvation.  Mark elaborates.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (Mark 16: 15-18)

In Matthew 10:1, Jesus had given the disciples authority to heal the sick and drive out demons.

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

And in John 14:12, Jesus told us, Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Basically, Jesus said, “I’ve been given authority.  I’ve given it to you.  Now go use it.”

Another thought.  When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He gave them what we call The Lord’s Prayer.  Probably a better name would be The Disciples Prayer.  It is not so much a prayer as an outline of what and how to pray.  In that prayer outline, you are familiar with the lines:

Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

In this prayer, Jesus did not say anything about preaching the Good News and getting people saved.  I believe the reason is that salvation is only part of bringing His kingdom back to earth.  We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:20, We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  Ambassadors represent another country, or kingdom.

Satan is defeated, but he hasn’t given up.  He is still the thief that lies, steals, kills, and destroys.  But we have been given authority to stand against him, declare the truth of God’s Word, pull down his strongholds, and set the captives free.

That sounds like a daunting task, but Jesus never calls us to anything He doesn’t equip us for.  I’ve heard it said, “The grace to do the task is in the call to do the task.”

Next time, we’ll explore that.

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