If Jesus was Lord of my city

I am currently reading Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,” by Frank Viola. At the end of each section of the book he gives a few action steps that one can take in order to engage with what has been shared. At the end of part three he gives the following action step:

If Jesus was the actual, literal, and practical Lord of your city—meaning, He was running the show and calling the shots—how would your city be different than it is today? Be as detailed as you can.

Here is my answer to that question. I live in Cape Town, South Africa:

If Jesus was the literal Lord of my city it would probably be a more developed version of His earthly ministry. He and his governing team (kingdom disciples) would administer the constitution of His Kingdom to all the regions of my city. And all the inhabitants would benefit.

I imagine that his governance would infiltrate every aspect of life. Education, Work, Healthcare, Entertainment, Politics, the Environment, and so forth. The goal would be that His kingdom would be established and that all it’s citizen’s would participate and enjoy life together.

Politics

He would be king, so there would be no democratic approach to laws and governance. He would make the rules and His disciples would facilitate them in every corner of the city. Those who are interested in being part of His kingdom administration would be able to join a local chapter to participate in local governance (i.e. the ekklesia). In fact, I imagine that He would encourage everybody to be part of governance in their area in some way….

Legal

Because people have a free will there will always be transgressions. So there would need to be a system to deal with them. I imagine that there would be consequences for all transgressions (accept traffic fines… ), but that they would be restorative rather than punitive. The system would be designed in such a way that people can learn from their mistakes and grow. And I know the Lord would facilitate this in a way that is loving and just. In this way “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes…” because all would receive justice. (Rev 21:4)

Healthcare

Jesus spent a lot of time during his earthly ministry engaged in healthcare. He was always healing the sick and setting people free from demonic oppression. He also loved on and ministered to those who had experienced psychological trauma (the woman at the well). I imagine that a city run by Jesus would be very much engaged with healthcare. All his disciples would be trained to facilitate basic healthcare, but there would be some (like Peter) who would be specifically trained and gifted to function in this way. In this way “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore…” (Rev 21:4), because all that is needed to care for the health of citizens will be available.

Finance

I imagine that the financial system would be similar to what God instituted for Israel. There would be “taxes,” but these taxes would be used wisely and there would be 100% accountability and transparency. I doubt we would see them in the same way we consider “taxes” today because people would give them gladly. People would be encouraged not to horde their money and resources, but make it available for the building of the Kingdom. In this way, our homes and possessions would not be our own, but only ours to steward for the sake of the Kingdom. If we stewarded them well, the King would give us more to steward. There would also be no needy people in my city (Acts 4:34) because all resources would be redistributed in such a way that everybody could be sustained.

Education

I work in education so this would be close to my heart. I would like to see an education system that is centered on developing every single person’s unique potential. Considering that God makes each person, the Lord Jesus would be able to help us know what that potential is. We would then have different streams and variations of teaching and learning that can be engaged with in an organic way based on people’s progress and development.

Entertainment

If you look at the scriptures carefully you will notice that Jesus cracked a lot of jokes. I imagine that he liked to have fun, especially considering that he enjoyed spending time with children. I imagine that this would be expressed in his kingdom. There would be places, spaces, and times where people can be entertained, but in ways that are wholesome and clean.

The Environment

I imagine that when the Lord begins to govern, the environment will finally be honoured and cared for in the way that it deserves. Pollution, climate change, and a host of other damaging environmental elements will be dealt with. Systems will be put in place to rehabilitate the environment and ensure it grows and flourishes. Practices will be put in place to ensure sustainable living.

Work 

Work is a very important aspect of God’s kingdom. Even from the beginning He gave Adam work to do. I imagine that in a city run by the Lord, everyone would contribute to the building up and managing of the kingdom and all it’s spheres. There would be no such thing as unemployment, because everybody would have a unique job to do. One given to them by the Lord Himself.

Business

When I think about business I think not about administration (which is what government organisations are designed to do), but I think about innovation, development, and growth. I think about new innovative approaches to solving problems in ways that are accessible to the average person. I imagine that in a city run by the Lord there would be much opportunity for entrepreneurship and business development to facilitate new innovative ways of doing things and solutions that serve the needs of all households.

Worship

From the beginning of his earthly ministry Jesus showed people what it meant to truly worship God. It was not about religion (a dead system with holy times and holy places – John 4:21-24), but about lives lived in spirit and in truth. He did not come to establish a religion, but a kingdom. So in my city I imagine that Jesus would do away with ALL religion (including the one that starts with a C), and he would teach people what it really means to worship God and live in His Kingdom.

Family

God’s kingdom has always placed a large emphasis on the family. Next to individuals that love and honour him, the family has always been the basic unit of the Kingdom, even from the beginning (Adam and Eve, Noah’s family, Abraham’s family, etc.). It is in that place where all the basic elements of the kingdom are fleshed out. Politics, finance, legal, healthcare, education…. all these elements are part of the family unit. The family is like a microcosm of the kingdom. If Jesus is not the living Lord of a family, and the family is not actively engaging with His Kingdom constitution, then that family will not be able to effectively participate in the local chapter of His governance (ekklesia), nor in the city-wide administration (New Jerusalem).

Therefore I imagine that Jesus will be intimately involved with families. He will teach husbands how to love their wives (Eph 5:25). He will teach wives to honour their husbands and submit to them (Eph 5:22). He will teach children how to obey their parents and honour them in everything (Eph 6:1). He will teach mothers how to effectively nurture their children, and teach father’s how to train their children (rather than neglect or frustrate them by placing expectations on them) (Eph 6:4). He will teach the family as a whole how to love him together and how to listen to him and obey him. How to be filled with him, grow in him, walk in him, and enjoy all that he is. He will teach families how to have true fellowship with one another, and what it means to truly love each other. He will establish his kingdom in each family in my city.

In Spirit

Finally, I imagine that although the Lord will have all authority and power and will wield these wisely and justly, He will ultimately accomplish his will by and through his loving passionate presence. He will not do it by his might, nor his power, but by his Spirit (Zech 4:6). And in this way “every eye will see him” for who he truly is (Rev 1:7), and of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end. In my city he will establish and uphold his kingdom with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.

What would your answer to Frank’s question be?

PS: Can you guess why I chose the image for this blog post?

12 thoughts on “If Jesus was Lord of my city

  1. Great post brother! I think one element that the kingdom of God on earth will add is that people will no longer live individual lives. People will know their neighbours and share more of their lives with one another. In fact, I believe that there will be such freedom that we can walk into any persons home and be received with joy and love. Imagine walking around the city and feeling safe and relaxed enough to engage with any person. Racial and social barriers will also be gone. Openness and oneness will be the order of the day.

  2. Wow thanks for sharing that so interesting…comparing it to the actual world we live in today is a bit scary… It just goes to show how fallen this world is and how much we need our Savior… I feel like what you described is kind of what the new heaven and earth might look like or what i would imagine it would look like…everything is just for a good purpose and everything glorifies him instead of the lust of man and the flesh… I feel like that was his intention before the fall of man and before we ruined it😂 and now his recrifying it but in the most beautiful way possible its like this love story instead of forgetting about this fallen woman (the world -his creation) he makes a way to save her so that they can be together for all eternity he restored her(or is in the process of restoring her) instead. like he couldve just started from scratch but he didn’t you know? He still pursues her and loves her even tho she doesn’t deserve it.

    1. Amen. What a wonderful love story it is. He has come to rescue us and restore us and is making all things new.

      What I appreciate about this new heaven and new earth is that even though He will one day bring it about in a full way, where the whole Earth gets made new, we as His house are actually called to live in these new realities already. We are called to be a new society that is a picture of what it will look like one day when Jesus takes up His throne in Jerusalem and physically and practically runs the whole world. As we live in these realities the world can see what it is like to be ruled by Jesus. The idea is that by seeing it in action, they will see how wonderful He is and surrender to His Lordship, become a part of His kingdom, and join us in displaying it to the whole world while eagerly awaiting the day when His kingdom will come in its fullness. What an awesome purpose to be a part of!

  3. What an interesting question. I am struck with the concept and how Christ would rule in an earthly way.

    Fogive me, but I feel like diverging from the words “actual, literal and practical Lord” because I feel like in one sense he IS already this over every city. But in one sense he is still becoming this.

    ‘”You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.’
    Hebrews 2:7‭-‬8 ESV

    I love how you have imagined it Dylan. But I can’t help somehow feeling like I would rather want him Lording over my city as he is doing presently rather than him being an earthly Lord. I think I was always God’s intention to fill the creation with his Spirit and rule through being one with man. Christ became a man in order to redeem us. But he said to his disciples “It is better if I go…so I can send the Helper”. This is how he desires to rule, by His Spirit through his church. However, I understand the benefit of the question which helps us to imagine practical out workings of the Kingdom. But I think I have would rather have Christ ruling the way he is now, than have him become an earthly King.

    1. Thanks for your comment brother. I hear you, in that He is already Lord over all in spirit. But a day will come when He physically returns to this earth to rule. “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.” (Rev 1:7) “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” (Rev 11:15)

      I believe the question is asked within that context. So if I had to rephrase the question within that context it would sound like this:

      When Jesus returns and physically (bodily) takes up His place as Lord of this world, and takes over the ruling and running of your city (with his risen and glorified disciples taking their place to rule with him), how would your city be different than it is today? Be as detailed as you can…

      1. That makes sense. I know he will come and set up his Kingdom in Jerusalem. It is amazing to think that he will be “actually, literally and practically” Lord in every way. To be honest I struggle to imagine how my city, Port Elizabeth would be different. I think my feeling is that is would be COMPLETELY different. It would have to be turned upside down (reference to the picture you used). I actually really love sister feona’s account of what she sees the Kingdom looking like. There must be an upheaval and a replacement of the very fabric of society. It must be a revitalisation, a revolution, a revival. Nothing less could be in keeping with his leadership. Words fall short!

        1. Amen brother. It would be a complete revolution of every aspect of society.

          What has been helpful to me is to consider what a society that is ruled by Jesus would look like, practically. Politically, legally, socially, etc. Because essentially that is what we, the Ekklesia have been called to be. Not a religion, but a nation that is actually ruled by the Lord. I think in many ways the world simply sees us (and maybe its the way we also see ourselves), as a religion, similar to Judaism or Islam. But that is not what Jesus came to establish. It is actually better to think about the message of the Kingdom in line with political and social ideologies like Democracy, Communism, Socialism, etc. Movements, that when adopted, actually influence every aspect of society and daily life. Movements, that actually bring revolution when adopted.

          My question is, are we such a people? A people that understand ourselves to be a part of a socio-political movement, with ideologies that influence every aspect of life, and which results in revolution when adopted (like can be seen in Acts). Or do we just see ourselves as a religious movement with ideas that only influences spiritual and religious life?

          And if we did consider ourselves to be a socio-political movement, what would our society look like? And what could it look like today? That is, if we actually understood the message of Jesus properly…

          In that way, I agree with your first statement, that Jesus is already Lord over this world in spirit. My question is, do we actually take that seriously in all that it means?

          And maybe thinking about what it would look like practically (now) if a whole city took him seriously, may help us to think about this in more depth, and maybe even help us to enter into it in more depth.

          I think that is what my contribution tries to incorporate. A city where today (with Jesus still ruling in spirit), its citizens were actually all ruled by Jesus, and where the management of the city was also facilitated by His disciples. A bigger version of what we see in Acts…

          I guess the only way I have been able to imagine it, is with him actually returning to make it happen. But maybe it is possible for the Lord to have a people that actually live this way today. A people that understand that they are a kingdom and a people. A new nation ruled by the Lord.

          Maybe that is actually what the Lord is waiting for before he returns. Where this socio-political message of the Kingdom (not the religious message of spiritual salvation only), will be preached and received across the whole earth! Maybe then the end will come…. and the fullness of what our sister Feona envisioned will finally also come to pass.

          In many ways, this is the longing of my heart….

  4. I imagine that we would be living in a new heaven and new earth that needs no sun or moon because the light and glory of God would be enough. The government will be on Christs shoulders and He will govern with the faithful. We would live and move in glorified and resurrected bodies that could move at the speed of light, so no transport required. We would eat only vegetables as no blood would be shed. It would be a Kingdom so beautiful, pure and clean, no pollution, no smog, no disease. Relationships would be pure and there would be only one groom and His spotless bride. Perfect love which casts out all fear and against which there is no law, would be the prevailing and driving force behind every thought, word and action and so no more sin, no more tears and no more suffering. Jesus would know everyone in His Kingdom and would rule with justice and holiness, over the least in His Kingdom to the greatest. There would be feasting and rejoicing as never before. Every knee will bow and evey tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord and so no more division, war dissension or disobedience. A place of perfect unity, where everyone will have a place, a mansion and a role and will be fully satisfied with that place and role. There would be no end to time and so I imagine we could learn new languages and skills, play a musical instrument, read, travel through different galaxies. Grow flowers, grains and veg. Enjoy the wildlife without fear of injury. Freely visit neighbours and friends and never have to come back another day because they are too busy. The streets wil be paved with gold, but no one will remove the gold for themselves. A place of perfect peace, inside and out and a place of freedom indeed. No eye has seen nor mind imagined just quite how glorious it will be. It is good to think about the Kingdom of God, our true home, as we are tried, tested and made ready in this fallen and imperfect world, for such a glorious and eternal place. It is right that we have the Holy Spirit to help us on this journey. Let’s be sure then, that when Christ returns, we are found ready, though we don’t know the day or time of His return. Let’s keep our lamps oiled and our robes tucked in, for though we know complete inner rest in Christ, this world is not our ultimate resting place. Nice excercise Dylan, thanks and blessings.

    1. Amen sister. I appreciate the way you have imagined it.

      I think what I also appreciate about this kingdom is that although it will come to this earth outwardly in every way (as you have described it), we can already live in it inwardly (in spirit), and we can live our lives in such a way that it can be seen visibly, while hoping for the day when it will come in fullness. What a privilege. May we indeed make sure that we are ready for that day, while also being faithful to ensure that the Lord has a testimony on this earth. One which is a true reflection of his beautiful person and glorious kingdom. One that enables His kingdom to grow and grow until it covers the whole earth as the waters cover the sea!!!

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