Jesus is in charge? Prove it….

If it’s true in Matthew 28:18 that “All authority in heaven and earth” has been given to Jesus, and he is now in charge, then why is there so much suffering in the world still? And if “by the cross,” Colossians 2:15, Christ “has disarmed the powers and authorities,” why does evil still exist? And if, Daniel 7:14, Jesus has been “given authority, glory and sovereign power,” and “his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed,” then where do we look for evidence of it, when the world seems to be getting worse, not better?

Jesus answered all that for us in Matthew 21:43, when he told the Jewish leaders “that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”

The clue Jesus gave in that verse that he is in charge, and his kingdom on this earth is real, is the fruit produced in the lives of people to whom the kingdom has been given. This included the people in verse 31, who were already “entering the kingdom of God,” even before Jesus died on the cross. They were the ones who’d taken John the Baptist seriously when he “came to show you the way of righteousness,” verse 32. Jesus explained what that”way” was too, in the previous parable: It was doing what “the father” figure in the parable wanted done, willingly and in obedient action.

So the fruit produced by those to whom the kingdom had been given was obvious: It was their belief that God had sent Jesus to be the first building block – or “capstone” (verse 42) – in the building of his kingdom on earth, and their willing obedience to Jesus as its ruler.

It stands out in clear contrast to those from whom the kingdom was taken away. These were the Jewish chief priests and Pharisees in Jesus’ day (verse 45), who should have been the “builders” of the kingdom of God on earth, but they blew their opportunity because they rejected Jesus, exactly as Psalm 118 said they would: “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone” (verse 42). They would not accept that God had sent Jesus to be the first building block in his kingdom, or the need to obey Jesus as its ruler.

There is only one place on earth, therefore, where the evidence that Jesus is in charge and his kingdom is real can be found: It’s in those who produce its fruit of willing obedience to Jesus as the capstone and ruler of God’s kingdom. It’s the only proof we’ve got, but at least we’ve got that as hope of a better world on its way.

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