Beware the Ides of March... How the Kingdom of God is Better
I vividly remember learning about the death of Julius Caesar in third grade, and subsequently the saying "beware the ides of March" found in Shakespeare's play about it. It seemed so interesting to eight year old me that a man with all this power, wealth, and armies at his command would fall victim to his own people. On March 15th, 44BC Caesar was murdered by the senators who were supposed to be on his side. Most noteworthy of the assailants being Marcus Brutus who was a good friend of Caesar. I'm no historian, but this seemed a monumental moment in the downfall of the Roman Republic.
The life of Jesus has some similarities- Power, followers, a King-like presence, and betrayed by someone so close to Him, one might be surprised by the death of Christ when reading the gospels for the first time. Though our "ending" goes a bit differently. Rather than playing a role in the downfall of a nation, Jesus' death and resurrection ushered in a new nation of God that transcends all barriers. Comparing these two stories is a good reminder that the Kingdom of God is far better than any kingdom or nation, and is the exact opposite of the great kingdoms we've seen rise and fall in history. Here's how....
The Kingdom of God is eternal
I'd like to think that the United States of America will be around for awhile. It probably will be! But history tells us that nations rise and fall. This isn't a declaration that America is on the brink of a national collapse, but a nod to history that has proven kingdoms and nations don't last forever. But this is not so with the Kingdom of God. All over scripture we see that God's Kingdom and rule is forever, and is actually something we are to hope and trust in, and allow it to stir our worship and affections for Him.
The Kingdom of God has never relied on man
God uses the blood, sweat, and tears of countless men and women to advance His Kingdom, but He's never relied on it. Man alone does not work hard to advance the Kingdom, but rather God works throughout history to bring glory to His name in the Kingdom of His people and across all the earth. It is purely His own goodness and Kingship that advances His Kingdom, and it is by an act of grace that we get to partake.
The Kingdom of God has a King that defeated death itself
Every world leader today has a security team of some kind. This conveys value on this person’s life- if the ruler were to die it would do great harm to the nation, thus his/her life is worth protecting at all costs. To keep a nation running, the modern day ruler needs to avoid death! But that's not so for Jesus, He walked right into it. There was a moment when His "security team" was ready to go (Mat 26:51), but His response is astonishing as He simply appeals to scripture noting that this very thing, His coming death, needed to happen for it to be fulfilled. The Kingdom of God didn't end with the death of its King, but rather established itself in the hearts of man for eternity with the King’s resurrection.
"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire."