Jesus steps forward and says, “Reconsider this: The Kingdom of God is here today!” So, rather than wait for something to happen first, everyone could enter the reality of God’s Kingdom immediately. That was a huge paradigm shift for his listeners.Jesus also wanted to emphasize that this Kingdom of God was not only accessible here and now, but that it was also wide open to everyone – yes, even to those Gentiles and Pagans and even the Samaritans – which was one of the messages that his people resisted most vigorously and why they first wanted to kill him. [See Luke 4: 16-30]
Here’s why I think nationalism blinds us: If in your mind Jesus and your nation are going in the same direction—meaning Jesus is headed a certain direction, He has a certain goal and purpose for the world and the way He’s going to accomplish it and then your nation has the exact same goal and the exact same plan for accomplishing it—well then of course you can follow Jesus, because He’s headed a certain direction and your nation is headed the exact same direction and has the exact same plan to get there, well then of course, absolutely, you can do that. But see, I think that when you read Jesus what you see if, and if you read the apostles and you read the early church documents, what you see is the idea that Jesus is going one way and everyone else is going the opposite way.Jesus is headed true north and everything else—every nation—on this earth is headed south. You cannot go north and south at the same time, because the nations of the world are not going where Jesus is going, and their plan for transforming the world and changing the world and making the world a better place is not His plan.
I really just don’t understand it. They call themselves “Christians” but don’t know what Jesus taught. They wear t-shirts with his picture on it, but can’t tell you what the Sermon on the Mount was about. They sing songs about Jesus on Sunday morning with tears in their eyes and then sit down to hear the pastor preach through his series on the life of Abraham, or Moses, or some other Old Testament character.