The nature of the kingdom depends upon the character of the king. That’s why Jesus was so angry when he entered his father’s house and discovered that the sons and daughters of Israel had created a nationalistic religious system that de facto excluded all nations other than Israel. They had missed the point entirely. What is the point of religion? Reconciliation. Inclusion of people, not exclusion.

     Perhaps it will help us understand the Lord’s anger if we take a peek into the vision of God’s people that drove the ministry of Jesus. It is found in Isaiah 11:6-9.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (NIV).

This is the vision of church that Jesus saw. This is the objective toward which God is working. This is the kingdom, the realm, for which Jesus, the Son of God, was willing to endure the cross. The kingdom that accurately reflects the nature and character of his father. A kingdom of peace, harmony, and reconciliation.

     The challenge for us is that life in this kingdom is so unnatural to us. When was the last time you saw a wolf tuck a little lamb into bed? A leopard napping with a goat? Right next to the sleeping lion, calf, and yearling? Preposterous!

     And yet, dear brothers and sisters, this is the life to which we have been called. To enter and live in harmony with all people-representatives from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9). To go out into the highways and byways and invite all races of people to come and take their place at the banquet table of God. At the table there is peace because the table is at the very heart of God … in the Peaceable Kingdom.

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