The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s batteries, coach, guide, prompt and power all rolled into one. What Jesus said to his disciples in Acts 1:3 before he left was basically like the old credit card slogan “Don’t leave home without it”. With the Spirit we have purchasing power to acquire territory for the kingdom of heaven.
The kingdom has come and the kingdom is coming. It is here and it has not yet arrived. We are living paradoxes. I cannot put it any better than Alexander Ventner does in his book, Doing Healing:P
The tension and mystery of the kingdom is critical to a proper praxis and theology of healing. We cannot dictate or control healing yet we cannot accept or surrender to sickness. We pray with confident authority and expectation of healing for everyone, yet we are humble and honest, trusting God with the results as only God can heal. We do both at the same time. We instinctively try to resolve the tension by tending to “either/or” because “and/both” is messy. Too much kingdom now leads to arrogance and presumption, demanding healing as if on tap. Too much “kingdom then” leads to pessimism and fatalism, leaving healing to if it is God’s will/ Balance leads to neutralising of the radical edges, loss of risk taking, a passive middle road and theologically correct approach to healing. We too easily explain lack of healing by kingdom tension when we ought to push through in faith. Embracing both the “already” and “not yet” of the kingdom makes us living paradoxes. It is learning to live and minister in the overlapping of two ages: the power of the kingdom and the resistance of this age. It leads to persevering faith, optimistic realism, dependence on God, discerning the moment, honouring people’s dignity, respecting the unknown, and leaving the results with God
On 15 January 2009, US Airways flight 1549 hit a flock of geese. Both engines failed. The plane was flying over New York. Potential disaster loomed. Not only were the 155 occupants on board in danger, but thousands more could have been killed had the plane hit one of New York’s skyscrapers. Captain Chesley B ‘Sully’ Sullenberger III guided the crippled US Airways plane with immense skill and courage. He performed a successful emergency landing on the Hudson River. Not a single passenger died, nor were there any serious injuries. The Mayor of New York City gave to the heroic pilot, who had saved them, the keys to the city.
To give someone the keys to a city is an immense privilege. They symbolise access and authority. Keys are usually given in recognition of some great service to the city. In the New Testament, we see that Jesus is the key holder.
Jesus’ Kingdom is not about geography The kingdom would , in inaugurated in contrast to their expectations, spiritual in nature, international in membership and gradual in expansion. And the expansion of this kingdom throughout the world would specifically require their exile from the Land. They must turn their backs on Jerusalem and their hopes of ruling there with Jesus in order to fulfil their new role as ambassadors of the Kingdom. (Matt 20:20-28; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21). The Acts of the Apostles suggests that they needed something of a kick start to get going. It is only when the Christians in Jerusalem experience persecution following the death of Stephen and are scattered that they begin to proclaim the Gospel to others (Acts 8:1-4). The church was sent out into the world to make disciples of all nations but never told to return. Instead Jesus promises to be with them wherever they are in the world. (Matt 29:18-20)