Kenosis and the Kingdom of God: On Suffering, Obedience, Trust, and Surrender as the Vessels of Eschatological Glory
Building on my paper presented at SVS 2013, which sketched out the proposal that the manner of Jesus’ own coming into the world defines the manner of the coming of his kingdom into the world, this paper argues that the concept of kenosis provides vitally important insight for a robust understanding of the ways and patterns of the kingdom of God as experienced in this “time between the times.” The paper first examines the Christological question of how the Son’s incarnation and his kenosis are related to one another, arguing that the two should not be confused and clarifying that incarnation is the logical prerequisite for Christ’s kenosis, rather than vice-versa as is often assumed. With this clarification in hand, the paper next argues that the reason Christ’s incarnation took place initially in the mode of kenosis was so that the advent of his kingdom could be saving rather than destructive for our fallen world. Finally, several implications this has for the present mode of his kingdom are drawn out. This includes consideration of how the new order created by God’s reign in the present is characterized by weakness and vulnerability to suffering, self-giving service, obedience to and sheer trust in God, and a laying aside of any claim to authority of one’s own.
This paper was presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society of Vineyard Scholars.
Download it here.