A CROSS FOR A THRONE
When Emperor Tiberius governs Rome, John the Baptist appears along the Jordan River. What he says causes excitement, awakens expectations and raises hopes. The political and religious authorities were worried because they consider his message subversive. He says: The kingdom of heaven is near (Mt 3:2). After him, Jesus begins to travel through towns and villages announcing everywhere: The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is imminent (Mk 1:15). At times he also says: The kingdom of God is already in your midst (Lk 17:21). The kingdom is the center of the preaching of Jesus: in fact, in the New Testament the theme of the kingdom of God is present 122 times and as many as 90 times on his mouth.
A few years after his death, we find his disciples announcing the kingdom of God in all the provinces of the empire and in Rome itself (Acts 28:31). We would like the Baptist, Jesus and the apostles to explain to us the meaning of this expression, but none of them does. However, we notice that Jesus distances himself from those who politically and nationalistically interpret his mission. (Mk 4:8). Nevertheless, his message contains an undeniable subversive load to the existing structures in society. He is considered dangerous by those in political and religious power.
Starting as a small seed, the kingdom is destined to grow and become a tree (Mt 1:31-32). It is gifted with an irresistible force and will provoke a radical transformation of the world and of person. The kingship of Jesus is difficult to understand. He has sent Pilate’s head in a tilt (Jn 18:33-38). It’s too different from those of this world. How many times over the centuries has it been misunderstood!
To internalize the message, let us repeat:
THY KINGDOM COME!