‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.’- Jesus of Nazareth
In Jesus, God's future has broken into the present.
The story of Israel, the story of the Cosmos, and our individual narratives—no matter how tragic the chapters and dark the night—are all moving towards the reconciliation of all things.
John the Seer describes this future in the Book of Revelation
‘And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (21:2-4)
Yet, this hope is not simply distant for we see in the narrative of Jesus—his proclamation and enactment of the reign and rule of God, his death followed by resurrection, the advent of the Spirit at Pentecost,— the hope that was initially reserved for culmination in the end times has now broken mysteriously into the present.
This is the 'now and not yet' of the Kingdom. This is the inauguration of the reign and rule of God, as we await the glorious consummation in which every tear will be wiped away.
This hope, through the agency of God's grace and mercy in the life and ministry of Jesus, has manifested itself in the present age and continues to reveal itself in communities that welcome the marginalised , bring hope to the hopeless, and healing to the hurting.
- Jon Swales 2023