2014) Where is the Kingdom of God? (part three of three)

Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw and Pete Davidson on 'Saturday Night Live'

Dan Crenshaw and Pete Davidson on Saturday Night Live, November 2018


           (…continued)  Christ is indeed the King over everything, over all times and places.  But Jesus did not want to be a king like Herod, or an emperor like Caesar, or a governor like Pilate, or a president like Trump.  Christ wants to rule in a far grander way that any of them.  He wants to rule in each and every heart, and then and only then will your life and the life of the whole world be different. 

            So what might that mean for you right now, today?  Well, there are a thousand directions one could go with that, and each week here you get a little bit of what it means to be a part of God’s kingdom.  But let’s look at just one example, just one concrete command to you from your King Jesus.  It is one I already mentioned, from the words of Jesus in Luke 6:28 where he says, “Bless those who curse you.”  Well, who ever feels like doing that?  Apparently not everyone, because Paul had to repeat the command in Romans 12:14 where he writes, “Bless those who persecute you—bless and do not curse.” …  Take a moment here and try to think of someone who is cursing you or persecuting you or bugging you or making life difficult for you…  Can you think of anyone?  I bet you can.  Now hear this again:  God wants you to bless them and not curse them.  So what does that mean?  It doesn’t have to mean give in to them, and it doesn’t have to mean let them walk all over you.  But it can mean to treat them kindly and with respect, even when you do not receive that from them; it can mean forgive them in your heart, even though you still have to oppose what they are trying to get away with; and it can mean that you not slander them all over the place, even if it seems they deserve it, but as it says in the catechism to try to understand them, to speak well of them, and to explain their actions in the kindest way possible.

            God really wants us to do this, so take one person, and work on it this week.  Why? To get saved?  No, but for the good life for you and those around you, and to bear witness to others of the kingdom of God within your heart.

            Did you see on the news a few months ago the story about Dan Crenshaw?  Crenshaw is a newly elected representative to Congress from Texas.  He is a veteran, having served three tours of duty as a Navy Seal.  His military career was ended when an IED blew up in his face causing him to lose an eye.  Now he wears a black patch over that eye. 

           On Saturday Night Live a few months ago, in a style that has become typical of comedy these days, comedian Pete Davidson ridiculed Dan Crenshaw’s appearance, saying he ‘looks like a hit man in a porn movie,” because, as Davidson said mockingly, “he lost his eye in some war or whatever.” 

            Such calloused disrespect for a wounded veteran, and coming just before Veterans Day, outraged so many people of all political persuasions that the story quickly became national news.  One person who wasn’t outraged was Dan Crenshaw.  He said, “I wasn’t outraged when people were shooting at me, why should I start now?”  So Crenshaw didn’t demand an apology and he didn’t call for anyone to be fired.  He agreed the comments were unacceptable, but said he did not want to fan the flames of our outrage culture where so many people are always being outraged and offended by everything.  So Crenshaw used it as a teaching moment to help us move a tiny step toward a more civil way of talking about things.

            So dignified was Crenshaw’s response that Saturday Night Live and Pete Davidson did offer an apology, even though it was not demanded.  And they invited Crenshaw to appear on their show to receive the apology in person.  Crenshaw did so, on the day before Veterans Day, and he graciously accepted the apology in person.  They also recognized the fact that Davidson’s father was a fire-fighter who died in New York on 9-11 when Davidson was only seven years old.  They then did some hilarious clowning around.  After the jokes, Crenshaw ended by saying, “There are some lessons to be learned here—not just that the left and right can still agree on some things, but also this—Americans can forgive one another.”  It was one of television’s finer moments.

            In an article he wrote later about the whole ordeal, Crenshaw had this to say:  “When all else fails, try asking for forgiveness, or granting it.”  This is exactly what Jesus was talking about when he said, “Bless those who persecute you.  Bless, and do not curse them back.”  Perhaps doing what Jesus said we should do is so rare that it makes national news.

            Christ is King, and Christ rules by commanding us all to do what leads to a better life and a better world.  When we do so, we begin to see and demonstrate what Jesus meant when he said that the Kingdom of God is in the midst of us.


Luke 6:28  —  (Jesus said),  “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Luke 17:20-21  —  Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, Jesus answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed;  nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

John 19:19  —  Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross.  It read:  “Jesus of Nazareththe King of the Jews.”


Dear God, I have been wronged by my neighbor.  I did not deserve this of him.  But I must remember and consider how I stand with you.  Before you, I find a long account against me which convinces me that I have sinned a thousand times more against you, than my neighbor has done to me.  Therefore, I must do as you say, by sincerely praying, “O Lord, forgive, and I will also forgive.”  Amen.   –Martin Luther