There are two worlds – two different realms, two different value systems, two different realities, two different ways of looking at life. Call them A and B, if you like. A puts great value on service, humility, relationship, compassion and trust. B values above all else power, wealth, fame, and self-will. It’s not hard to guess which one Jesus belonged to. Some people, at his crucifixion, saw it as outrageous nonsense that he should be called the Christ or Messiah because, to their way of thinking, a king stood at the top of the tree as far as power, wealth, fame and wilfulness is concerned. The Messiah, they thought, would respond to any threats like those Jesus was facing with overwhelming power, smashing his opponents and scattering his enemies. Jesus did nothing like that. On the contrary, he epitomised the values of God’s A reality. His kingdom was not of human production; it was of God (John 18:36). If we have been baptized, we have been claimed for that kingdom. If we have responded to his call and placed our faith in him as Saviour and Lord, we have been introduced to reality A. Jesus came to call people to live in the A form of reality, and he opened the way for all to do that. So, we are constantly confronted with a choice: in which reality do we live? There is a particular temptation for Christians to be aware of – treating God from the point of view of the B reality. Instead of seeing God, first and foremost, as love, we then see God as power. Condemnation drowns out forgiveness, blame takes the place of trust. It leads people to fight wars in the name of God and looks with contempt on people of other religions. Christ calls us, not to make him part of our B reality, but for us to be, thankfully and joyfully, part of his A reality.
- Share any experiences you have had of living in two cultures or speaking two different languages.
- According to Luke 23:33-43, who, at his crucifixion, saw it as outrageous nonsense that Jesus should be called the Christ?
- What do you think of this approach, that we think in terms of Realty A and Reality B? Does this help understand the biblical concept of the kingdom of God?
- Reality A is God-centred; Reality B is self-centred. What happens when we treat God as part of the B Reality?