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.
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….
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?