Under the Greatest

Think of the coach for whom you have the greatest respect and admiration. If you had the chance to work under this coach, you’d listen to everything they said, eager to learn and grow as a result of their coaching. You’d gladly do whatever they ask of you because you trust them. Even during times when the work feels hard, you’d be grateful because you know this coach is motivated by a genuine desire to help you reach your full potential. You’d orient the way you coach around the way this coach leads you because you’re convinced he or she is the greatest coach.

When Jesus began his public ministry on earth, this was his message: “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17). Saying “the Kingdom of Heaven” is the same as saying “the Kingdom of God.” Many Jewish people in Jesus’ day believed the name of God was too sacred to be spoken aloud so they would use words like “heaven” in place of “God.” The Kingdom of Heaven/God refers to God’s reign as King – the ultimate King whose rule is completely good, just, loving, right, merciful, holy, gracious and wise.

Why does Jesus say that God’s reign as King is “near” or “at hand” as other translations put it? Because he – Jesus – has arrived and he is the King of kings (Rev. 19:16). Jesus, as God in the flesh, has come to bring God’s rule to bear in this world and in the lives of people in a new and decisive way. Jesus is the greatest King and his reign will never end (2 Pet. 1:11).

Returning to our opening scenario of what it would look like to work under the greatest coach: do we respond in a similar way to the opportunity to live under the reign of the greatest King? Jesus asks this of us and more, putting it this way: “Repent of your sins and turn to God.” This is about two kinds of “turning”: turning away from and turning toward. To live under God’s reign requires turning away from living in rebellion against God and his ways, including living for anything other than God. We instead turn toward God through faith in Jesus, receiving his forgiveness for our sins and willingly surrendering to his rule over us as our King.

Living under Jesus’ reign as our King means we reorient every part of our life around what he desires for us – including how we coach. We listen to everything he says, always eager to learn and grow under his rule. We gladly do whatever he asks of us because we trust him. Even during times when following him feels hard, we’re grateful because we know Jesus our King genuinely desires that we reach the full potential for which God created us.

Why would we do this? Because we believe what the Bible tells us about the Kingdom of God. The reign of King Jesus is completely good, just, loving, right, merciful, holy, gracious and wise. Submitting to his reign in our coaching, in our work, in our relationships – in every area of our life – is for our best and glorifies the greatest King.

What does it look like to coach and live under the reign of King Jesus? We’ll talk about this in the coming devotions through diving into Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5 about life in God’s Kingdom.

Coach, Jesus’ coming as King is for you. He invites you to live under his reign and know the matchless joy of being part of his kingdom forever! If you haven’t yet responded to this incredible opportunity, consider again what Jesus says to you: “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

For reflection: If you recognize your need to repent and turn to God, you can do so through praying a simple prayer like this: ‘Jesus, I believe that you are God. I believe that you died for my sins on the cross. I believe that you rose from the dead and so you can give me new and eternal life. I’m sorry for my sins and repent of them. I trust you, I receive your forgiveness and I surrender my life to you. You are my God, my Savior, and my King. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.’