Today we are looking at Isaiah chapter 11 verses 6-9, so if you would open up your bibles and we read 6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] 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 cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
I was discussing this passage with someone the other day and they said I find it easier to believe that a little child would lead a lion or that a wolf would live with a lamb, than that there would be no harm or destruction on Gods Holy mountain.
Now with all due respect to my friend that may be more due to Disney films like Jungle Book and others than anything else.
I wonder what you think when you read this passage?
Do you think it is all just rubbish, what is it on about a wolf living with a lamb a leopard lying with a goat, and a calf and a lion and a little child leading them? A cow will feed with the bear, a lion will eat straw, children will play near the cobra’s den and be safe, a child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
In our world it is rubbish and if all we see when we read this passage is rubbish, then rubbish it will stay.
But if we see the picture the prophet Isaiah is trying to paint then we see what God in wanting for our lives, for our world. What Isaiah is taking about is what Jesus called the Kingdom of God.
When Jesus came as a baby that begin the start of the Kingdom of God, Jesus said in Mark chapter 1 verse 15 5 “The time has come,” “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
It was what God’s people had long waited for, The Christ had now come. The Christ the anointed one, anointed by God, it also means Messiah, in Hebrew. So, to be the Christ, or Messiah, is to be “the anointed one of God.”
And where the king is, there is the kingdom. This is precisely why Jesus says to the Pharisees in Luke 17:21 the kingdom of God is in your midst. When He Jesus was talking about Himself. As Graeme Goldsworthy says, Jesus embodies the kingdom theme of God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule. Jesus is both the faithful ruler and the righteous citizen of the kingdom.
And Jesus reveals that his purpose is to proclaim the kingdom. Jesus described his mission in Luke 4:43 saying that he “must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
Jesus explains the kingdom and invites people to enter into it. Luke’s abridge version of Jesus’ ministry in Luke 8:1 is Jesus “proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God”. The announcement of the kingdom often came through the parables of Jesus that illustrated what it was and how it worked.
Through his works, Jesus shows the power of the kingdom and his authority over the prince of darkness. As Jesus says in Luke 11:20 “if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Jesus not only declares the kingdom in his words but also demonstrates the kingdom in his works.
And Jesus sends his followers out as ambassadors of the kingdom to herald its arrival. This distribution happens in Luke 10:9 as Jesus sends out the 72, instructing them to say, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”
In the great commission, Jesus issues his discipleship plan to the church because he possesses as He says in Matthew 28:18 “all authority in heaven and on earth.” Jesus sends his people His followers to engage the kingdom of darkness.
People thought that God would send a military conqueror who would rescue the world. But Jesus said in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus transforms the kingdom, showing it is all-inclusive in its nature, rescuing in its mission, and cosmic in its scope.
And in this season of Lent strange as it may seem to many through his victorious death and resurrection, Jesus redeems the kingdom. As he satisfies the wrath of God poured out for those who rebel against his rule, Jesus defeats Satan, sin, and death The Apostle Paul said in Col 2:14-15 13 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you[d] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Jesus overcomes the world, the flesh, and the Devil by destroying the power of the kingdom of darkness. By purchasing a kingdom people at the cross, Jesus proves himself to be the rightful ruler of the restored kingdom.
And in his final words to his people, Jesus concludes his earthly ministry by clarifying the kingdom. Just before his ascension, Jesus’ disciples asked him in Acts 1:6, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Even at the conclusion of his earthly ministry, Jesus resolved confusion about the kingdom. So the kingdom was key to the start of Jesus’ earthly ministry and its conclusion.
10. Jesus returns the kingdom.
In the second coming of Christ, Jesus returns as a triumphant warrior king. As he returns to achieve final victory, the name scribed on his body is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev 19:16). At last, he places all his enemies under his feet as he launches a new creation kingdom that fully reflects his righteous reign. He completes the conquest that began with his birth.
So for us the kingdom of God is hear and yet not quite hear, what does that mean, well it is as much hear as we make it hear, God chooses to us to bring His Kingdom and not surprisingly His Kingdom is important to Him, if the kingdom of God was central to Jesus’ life and ministry, then it must remain crucial to our life and theology today.
So what would that world look like, is it possible. Is it possible in some way Alan Scott who was the minister in charge of the Vineyard Church Coleraine, Northern Ireland who I mentioned last week said this in his book Scattered Servants, God servants should release peace into our city’s, he says ‘God desires that our cities be centres of peace? In fact, Jesus says in Matthew 10 “Whatever city or town you enter…. Let your peace come upon it.” So, is it possible for a church a group of people to bring peace to a city to an area?
Scott goes on to say this, ‘Parades are one of the areas of significant tension in Northern Ireland and in our community of Coleraine, historically this single issue has torn at the heart of the community in the city. Frequently they create division and escalate violence in the city. A stronger police presence often inflames the situation, and yet there must be a police presence to ensure order. This particular year, the police wanted to partner with voluntary agencies that might be able to help. So, Scott says they invited our church to attend the parade. We inquired he said what they would like us to do they responded, “When you show up, it changes the atmosphere.”
Can you imagine when Christian people show up the atmosphere changes, we all, who know and love God the Farther, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, can change the atmosphere, in our street in our borough, in our city. We can bring about a peaceable Kingdom, the Kingdom of God lays within each one of us.
The wolf almost us living with that person who would not say boo to a goose, that person who carries a knife helping an old person across the street, God is saying follow your God and King Jesus and this can happen and when God’s people really sign up to this as they have in Coleraine things change and, God moves mountains.
God loves each one of us and wants the best for us, we have to engage with that and believe that in His love God wants to us to help Him achieve His Kingdom hear on earth. Amen