Meditation Thought: “I shall not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29)
The “next time” Jesus ate (and presumably drank) with His disciples was after His death and resurrection. This would indicate that He considered His “Father’s kingdom” where He and the disciples were eating together – which was in Galilee, which was in the world, where the disciples were – where Jesus had requested they meet Him.
It would seem that upon His act of proving life beyond the flesh, He also revealed the “place” of His Father’s kingdom: the place being wherever the resurrected Christ meets a believer. Or perhaps, more accurately, the place where a believer meets the resurrected Christ, as he proceeds according to directions given to him by Christ.
The directions for us are “spelled out” in His direction to His original disciples. His teachings concerning God and God’s kingdom were intended for all: this was His very purpose of birth and death and resurrection in the flesh.
As was true of the disciples, we can be with Him only by joining Him – and He is in the Father’s kingdom. This is where we shall find Him: not in a church building, nor in another’s faith – but in our own inner spirit and mind, with a contrite and searching heart. Only when we begin to grasp the awesomeness – and the power – of the resurrection can we have the courage and fortitude to find the kingdom where we can meet our Lord, and allow Him to teach us about our Father and our Father’s kingdom.
This kingdom is so unlike our physical environment that it takes adjustments in many areas to even begin to comprehend it. It is more like traveling to a new planet than a new country. Not only is there a difference of language (consider how many ways Jesus attempted to describe what the kingdom is like – there seemed to be no adequate words in our language to reveal it accurately) – but a difference of cultural values, of perception of priorities, and a totally new environment, requiring a different style of living in every area.
No wonder it takes us a long time to have even a remote conception of what we are encountering in this kingdom where we meet Him!
It is made even more difficult to stay with Him as the world attempts to get us to remain focused upon it, and remain concerned only with the physical and with the self-interest aspects of life. Only by conscious, consistent effort are we able to stay focused on Christ and thus remain in His Presence in the kingdom.
We simply do not have the stamina to do this alone: we must admit we do not have that much power within ourselves, and ask Him to hold us close, and lend us His strength to do all that we need to do as the Father’s children – obedient and reflective of Him in character and in deeds. This is the only way that it is possible to be with Jesus in the Father’s kingdom.
In one respect, it costs us dearly – our pride must be paid as ransom – but in another respect it is free – Jesus has paid the ransom for our sin of rebellion against the Father.
When we are able to be willing to pay the pride and to accept the gift, we have found the key to unlock the gate to the Father’s kingdom. April 26, 1983