The King’s People
Open Your Bible
Hosea 2:23, Romans 8:12-17, Ephesians 1:3-14, Ephesians 2:8-22, Revelation 1:4-6, Revelation 5:1-10
People from every nation will share in Jesus’s kingdom inheritance and mission.
For Lent this year, my daughters and I set a goal to read an entire storybook Bible together. Each night, we curled up on the couch, and my husband or I read a chapter or two to them. I love watching them see how all the stories fit together, telling one story that is also our story. Abraham had no family, but God made him one. That family became a people, who God called His own. They had no land, but God promised them one. They had no king, so God gave them one. And on and on the story goes, of disparate people bound together by the love of their good God. Now all believers are the heirs of all those promises, which Jesus fulfilled and will fulfill completely, for all time, when He returns to reign as King.
Today’s readings come from throughout Scripture, the Old Testament and the New, from Paul’s letters to John’s final Revelation. And they tell the whole story, tying up loose ends, asides, and confusing metaphors: the story of God’s people, Jews and Gentiles, and the redemption accomplished on the cross by Jesus, unifying them forever. Here, in Revelation 1, we see the sweeping scope of Scripture in two verses:
To him who loves us and has set us free from our sins by his blood,
and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—
to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (Revelation 1:5–6).
From the beginning in Genesis, God loved us. The book of Hosea reminds us of the plan He always had, to call a people who were not a people His own (Hosea 2:23). Peter later uses this same language: “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people” (1Peter 2:10).
In Romans and Ephesians, Paul paints a picture of the unity of Christ’s followers: the diverse, vast, deep, wide, and encompassing body of people who are loved by God. He calls us words like “children,” “heirs” and “co-heirs,” “sons,” “fellow citizens” and “priests” to describe the Jews and Gentiles unified through Jesus into one family, one inheritance of glory (Romans 8).
The unity is hard-won, however, and incomplete until the day Jesus returns. The body of Christ is fractured, as it has been since Paul and Peter argued with other believers at the Jerusalem Council over how Gentile believers were to behave now that they had become followers of Jesus (Acts 15).
Church history is replete with examples of church councils and conflicts, denominational splits and debates. We hole up with our theological tribes and shoot arrows at each other from our keyboards, forgetting that Scripture is the story of God calling us together into His kingdom—and that our job isn’t to win the fight, but to pursue the peace that Jesus won for us on the cross.
When we read Revelation 5, God reminds us that our future home is not full of people who look, think, act, read, or believe exactly how we do. In fact, Jesus secured the opposite by His blood: a beautiful, diverse kingdom from every tribe, language, people, and nation, unified forever by the God who loves them all as His own (Revelation 7:9–10).