All Roads Lead To Jesus - 2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles – Jesus is the king who reigns eternally
Reading – I Corinthians 15

I have had moments in my life that I have wanted to last forever. Maybe it was a first kiss. Or perhaps it was the first time I was able to ride in the barrel of a wave while surfing. There are moments in time where you want that moment to last forever and you know that it won’t. Part of the great sadness of human existence is that we know death is unnatural and we know that none of us can avoid it. Those moments in time that we want to last forever remind us of the nagging feeling that nothing lasts forever because death comes for us all.

Israel may have felt that way during the reign of Solomon. It was clear that God had kept his promises in those days. A people who were once slaves were now a powerful nation in a fruitful land of plenty. They had their own customs, religion and nation. When the Babylonian troops came through the walls of their cities, perhaps they were thinking that same thought common to all human beings, “Nothing lasts forever.” The first kiss had come to an end.

2 Chronicles was written sometime during Judah’s return from Babylonian captivity. An entire generation of Israelites had lived in Babylon for over 70 years. The story of Esther takes place after King Cyrus had decreed that the Jewish people could return home. Many of them stayed in Babylon because it was home to them. For those who were returning to the Southern Kingdom in Judah, everything had changed. It wasn’t the same as before. The Chronicler compiled the life and works of Solomon to remind the people of God’s eternal promise about an eternal kingdom in a time where that promise seemed like it was unconnected to the living and just an old story. The good days were behind Judah.

Solomon was a great king. He finished the greatest temple Israel would ever know. His rule was full of victory and stability. But still, he died of an old age. He and his father ruled well even in spite of their flaws. But they did not rule eternally.

When Jesus began his earthly ministry, the descendants of Solomon and those first returning exiles were looking for a restored Kingdom. Israel was a kingdom, but they were subject to Rome. Their current King was a puppet who did the bidding of the Romans. For 400 years, the Jewish people studied the Scriptures and they desired to see God’s promises fulfilled. Jesus was offering something more than anyone could ever had imagined. He said that the Kingdom of God was near. He said this Kingdom of God was an eternal Kingdom. Over and over again he equated himself with the prophecies of the Old Testament as the Son of David, the Son of Man, the promised Messiah, the Suffering Servant, the one who would carry the sin of God’s people.

When Jesus died on the Cross and rose again, he was declared by God to be who Jesus had always claimed to be. He was the King of Glory and He had firmly established a foothold in the fallen world to bring about the New Heaven and New Earth. The rest of the New Testament expands on what it will be like when Jesus returns. These words were written down by the disciples of Jesus who were instructed to teach the disciples of Jesus Christ in all nations all that Jesus had taught them. We can be sure that what the disciples taught in the New Testament about the New Kingdom were things they learned from Jesus.

What we learn about this new Kingdom that Jesus inaugurated is that it is eternal. That all grief and sorrow will be wiped away as we understand it’s purpose in the context of the glory of God. This new eternal kingdom will consist of all people from every nation who confess Christ as King. The new kingdom will reverse the effect of sin in this world. The meek will inherit this kingdom. The first will be last. Those who mourn will be comforted. The sick will never be sick again. Broken relationships will be restored. In other words, God is restoring the ethics and relationships of Eden in this new Kingdom.

In this new heaven and earth there will be no need for a temple because God will be dwelling with His people just as He did in Eden. There will be complete reconciliation and restoration of everything that is good. Creation will be recreated and good once more.

Solomon’s kingdom was the pinnacle of ancient Israel’s history. What David started; Solomon had completed. The Temple represented this glory in all of its majesty. But as incredible as this Kingdom was, it did not compare to the eternal kingdom or the eternal King who is Christ.

We all have our ideas of what our own kingdom should look like. We really start building this kingdom when we strike out on our own. Some of us have achieved these kingdoms only to realize we still have a date with the end of the kingdom. Someone else is going to take the fruit of our kingdom when we leave this earth. Some of us are jealous of other kingdoms. Some of us haven’t yet realized that the earthly kingdoms we put our hope in are only temporary.

Jesus offers more than Solomon could ever have offered. Jesus is the eternal king and his kingdom has no bounds and knows no end. Here is the great news – those who have declared Christ as King are joint-heirs with him in the riches and glory of His Kingdom. Jesus is sharing his eternal kingdom with those who worship him as king.

It is true that we and each of our kingdoms have an expiration date. And that is quite a depressing thought if it has no other purpose than to distract us while we still have breath in our lungs. But there is another route. What if our kingdoms were just the beginning? What if we were living life in light of the eternal king and his eternal kingdom? What if we were using our kingdoms to build up eternal treasure in heaven?

Like Israel, we don’t need to grieve the loss of our earthly kingdoms without hope. We can grieve the horrible things that happen in this world, but we grieve as those with hope. We grieve with hope because every hardship in our earthly kingdoms is for the glory of the eternal king in his eternal kingdom. His glory is our greatest good. We have hope because we know at the end of the day, and yes, at the end of our life, we are just beginning to live in the eternal kingdom of God.

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