Monday, June 16, 2008

The Table of the Kingdom

But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom. (Matthew 26:29)

With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.… Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. (Luke 22:15-18)
The Table of the Lord speaks of the fulfillment of the kingdom of God. Jesus said that the kingdom is already “at hand” (Matthew 4:17), which is an idiomatic way of saying that is now here. Indeed, Jesus speaks of it as being present within His disciples (Luke 17:21). But it is not yet fulfilled, that is, it has not yet come in all its completeness. This will not happen until the King Himself returns.

In Matthew’s reading, the word “new,” does not speak of newness of time but of quality, the quality of kingdom fullness. In this way, The Table of the Lord is a sign of the return of the King. Paul reminds us, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

Not only is this Table a sign of the Father’s kingdom, it also shows that we are participants in that kingdom, that we truly belong to it, for the Lord promises that He will drink of it with us. However, we participate in His kingdom not merely as servants but as sons. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). Through faith in Jesus Christ, we become the sons of God, and as sons, heirs of His kingdom. Jesus said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). It is our inheritance.

The Table of the Lord is the sign that, though the kingdom of Heaven on Earth is already present and active within us, we shall one day experience it in all its fullness when Jesus returns.



The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
Keys to the Kingdom of God
in the Gospel of Matthew

by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.