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He Is The Kingdom

February 14, 2012

 My daughter and I were walking through the sporting goods store the other day when she spotted a set of dumbbells with a little number “90” printed on the side.  Now listen, she’s been doing gymnastics for the past couple of years…she’s getting pretty jacked for a 7 year old…but when she grabbed hold of that thing…it didn’t budge.  It didn’t move an inch…not an inch.

 I don’t know if you will…but I hope you’ll take just a moment and read through Daniel 7.

 There’s a lot happening in this chapter of Daniel.  There’s also an obvious parallel to the vision of Nebuchadnezzar recorded in back in chapter 2.  Back in that chapter, it was a great image that represented the four empires of civilization…the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans.  In this chapter, we see four beasts, represented by a lion, a bear, a leopard, and finally, one so powerful that no mighty animal was fit to represent it.  Instead, we only see that it had “great iron teeth” and that it “devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet.”  We don’t have the space here to review all of world history, but that last one…the one that devoured and trampled everything…that was the Romans.  What we know is that centuries before these empires came into being, God spoke through Daniel to say it was coming.

 But the vision doesn’t stop there.  And as we know from the fact that we’re here…history doesn’t stop there either.  In Chapter 2 it was a stone that destroyed the image…that broke it into pieces that were small enough to be swept away by the wind.  In this chapter, Daniel says, “Behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man.”  Then, verse 14 says, “And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.”  That’s not a veiled idea…that’s pretty explicit…this One, this son of man, will rule over all things, and “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” 

 I don’t know what else to say except that this One, this Son of Man, is Jesus Christ.  That’s the title He used for himself more than any other…almost exclusively.  In fact, in John 6:27, Jesus says, “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man (deliberately using this title from Daniel) will give to you.  For on him God the Father has set his seal.”  Now don’t miss that.  The seal has been set.  This is not a coming kingdom…but a kingdom that has come.  Jesus, the Son of Man, is the Kingdom.  A few verses later, in John 6:35, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”  Later on He’ll say, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”   Don’t let that sound creepy…if you consider the context, it makes complete sense.  If Jesus is the Kingdom…if Jesus is the bread of life…to eat of that flesh and drink of that blood is to put your faith in Him.  It’s to go all in…complete trust…actual hope…genuine faith. 

 You see, the Christian faith isn’t about what we can do.  The crowd following Jesus in John 6 wanted it to be about what they could do.  “Tell us what to do” is literally what they said.  Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”  The people there understood the weight of that statement.  Just like my little girl grabbing hold of that 90 lb. weight…they understood the gravity of the situation.  The claim that Jesus was making was not that He was “a” way but that He was “the” way of salvation.  That’s what we have to grab hold of…something real…something heavy…because what He did for us was carry a burden we could never carry and pay a price we couldn’t pay…so that we could be…His.

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