The miracle of the resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith and without it we are of most men to be pitied (I Corinthians 15:19). Its publicity, however, is the opposite of the Palm Sunday drama. The drama of the resurrection is that it was witnessed by very few people. It was basically a private event. Have you ever thought about that? We, including the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15, like to use eyewitness testimony to support our claim that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead, as we should. And Jesus did make enough public appearances to provide a foundation for our faith. But think about the numbers. The best Paul can come up with at one time is 500? Yes, 500.
Where are the appearances before 5000? What about an appearance in the temple, a place where Jesus had regularly addressed the crowds just a week earlier? Would that have been helpful? Where are the appearances before the skeptics, the Pharisees, and the rulers? For some reason, following His resurrection, Jesus took His kingdom almost completely underground. Have you ever thought about that? So many public appearances in Jesus’ former life, and then very few after His resurrection.
So to summarize the timeline of events surrounding the announcement of the coming of the kingdom, we have the following:
- Jesus’ early ministry: announced the arrival of the kingdom of God.
- Jesus’ earthly ministry: public, but downplayed the King title.
- Palm Sunday: public, and embraced the King title.
- Death: public place of execution, witnessed by many.
- Resurrection: private, witnessed by very few people.
- Ascension: Very private, by invitation only. And poof, Jesus was gone, back to heaven.
And this is where we live today; citizens of a secret kingdom. But secret does not mean powerless. Remember the kingdom of God is within us. And the same power that raised Christ from the dead infuses the citizens of His kingdom. It really is a kingdom not of this world. It is a kingdom that is largely invisible to this world. At the same time, it is a kingdom of supernatural citizens whose true home is somewhere else; citizens who truly are “in the world but not of it.”