Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
A new conflict arises as soon as we feel urged to proclaim the kingdom of God as something living. And this is what I want to do today. I don’t just want to edify you. I want to proclaim to you what God has put into my heart: God’s kingdom is a living reality, a rulership that impacts the here and now and even today is at hand – closer at hand than we may think. The intervention of the living God is more powerful today than many believe. God wants to manifest himself as the one who is something and who does something now. He alone is the one with whom we should joyfully concern ourselves.
In speaking of God’s kingdom, we proclaim that Jesus Christ is not dead. He is not merely someone who appeared two thousand years ago, to be viewed as a personality of the past about whom we retain certain recollections and teachings. No, just as Jesus lived two thousand years ago, he lives today. He wants to triumph in our midst for the honor of God. He wants to live among us so that our reverence for the Father in heaven may grow and deepen.
The conflict begins, however, as soon as I take a firm stand and say, “I have experienced who Jesus is. I have looked into the living power, into the kingdom of our God, which even today wants to take hold of us. I tell you that even now the truth and the life-power of our God is at work. I declare to you that even now the truth of God’s kingdom comes visibly to this earth. We do not have to wait until we lay ourselves down to die and be buried. Here and now we can hear with our ears, see with our eyes, who Jesus is, who the life-giving spirit is. It is the same today as at the time of the apostles. It is not a question of this or that church, of this or that teaching, but only of Jesus Christ himself (John 14:6). We have to come to terms with him!”
For me this is the one and only direction. Yet if I say this, people react and argue. “Who is this arrogant person? How can anyone say such things today? Aren’t the Bible and the existing denominations enough for us? This is superstition and exaggeration!” So there is a conflict, but it kindles a light in many hearts, a light of hope, a light of strength, a light from the heights beyond this earth.
For nothing can give us more strength than the certainty that Jesus lives and acts and that he is not an empty word or a mere teaching. Nothing gives more strength than the knowledge that Jesus is in our midst (Matt. 18:20). We must believe this, so that his life may become true in us, so that his spirit may purify us.