Scot McKnight on how kingdom transformation begins

“Jesus said:

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”

If Jesus thinks that confessing him is how one enters the kingdom, then it is no wonder that Jesus stands up in the synagogue in Nazareth, reads from Isaiah, and then announces that Isaiah’s kingdom predictions were about him. It is also no wonder that some in that synagogue wanted to end his life right then.  So it is: Jesus says the kingdom begins by turning to him.

When pastors and theologians speak of the “personal” or “relational” nature of the Christian faith, they’ve got it right. Jesus’ kingdom can neither be ratcheted tightly into a cold-edged system of logical propositions, nor can it be downshifted into a set of social virtues. Kingdom transformation begins by recognizing that the kingdom is about a personal connection to Jesus, it begins by turning to Jesus….

Because the Jesus Creed calls for the whole person—heart, soul, mind, and strength—entering the kingdom is just the first step. A whole person won’t be transformed overnight—the transformation continues by making a lifestyle out of following Jesus.

Scot McKnight, The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others, 129,130.

The Jesus Creed:

‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.”

(see pages 3-13)