After Jesus’ death on a cross, it must have been hard for his followers to recall his teachings about rising from the dead and being exalted in heaven’s glory. After all, it would have seemed that his life was a failure. How could his vision for the kingdom of God be fulfilled?
As long as Jesus’ followers only imagined a kingdom of human power, influence, and wealth, Jesus’ death would have seemed like a crushing defeat. But all along, Jesus had been speaking of a much greater kingdom. “My kingdom is not of this world,” he had said (John 18:36). But it wasn’t till after his resurrection that his words about being raised from the dead made sense to his followers.
Like Jesus’ first disciples, we often have a very narrow vision of God’s kingdom. We imagine that Christ has come to give us human power, influence, or wealth. We long for Jesus to make our dreams come true, to put our people in political office, and to keep us comfortable and happy. But it’s not all about us. Jesus, through his death and resurrection, opens the way to a universal kingdom where God’s will is done and his power is made complete.
In the days after his resurrection, Jesus taught his disciples more about this kingdom, preparing them to recognize him as the ascended Lord. Can we also remember Christ’s words?