XII. As Jesus uses the term “Kingdom of God,” it is an action, not a place or structure. That is, the Hebrew term malkut means the active lordship of the king, the dynamic sovereignty of God. It is connected, through Exodus, Deuteronomy, and “royal” Psalms like 47,93, 96-99, to the term YHWH (Yahweh, the name God reveals to Moses in the burning bush). YHWH literally means “I am who am” – it is a statement of vibrant “now-ness,” the full actuality of the all-powerful and all-loving God.
Yet there is another dimension as Jesus reveals the Kingdom, and it is also a reference to Himself: the smallness, hiddenness, apparent insignificance of the Kingdom. This is seen in images like the mustard seed, the leaven in the dough, the wheat among the weeds, the seed falling among rocks and thorns, the buried treasure, the elusive pearl of great price. These images reflect the very Incarnation of Jesus, from the obscure birth in poverty in Bethlehem, through the hidden years from age 12-30, to the growing rejection of His message to the Crucifixion. Humanly speaking, there is in the end nothing impressive or overwhelming about Jesus, Who apparently finishes in utter failure on Calvary. Yet in all of this, Jesus is God present in the flesh: “In Jesus, God is now the one who acts and who rules as Lord – rules in a divine way, without worldly power, rules through the love that reaches ‘to the end’, to the Cross” (61).