Upside-Down Kingdom Analysis

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Kraybill teaches his position on twentieth-century church history in the Upside-Down Kingdom by shaping people's perceptions of him in the present and by putting them in his own cultural context. The Upside Down Kingdom helps readers concentrate and realize that in God's Kingdom, everything is reversed: "In the midst of first-century Palestinian culture, the kingdom of God declared by Jesus was a new order of things that seemed upside-down. Also, the upside-down nature of the kingdom of God is still present as it penetrates various civilizations today (Kraybill, 2012). Although we may have been taught or envision Jesus to be what we hear of him or see one way it is to the contrary. This piece of literal work is the definition of the significance of practicing the religious principles through Christ’s teachings concerning the poor and suffering. For him, Christ’s message was not to seek the kingdom of heaven from above but rather through the active empathy and compassion for the poor. It is on this basis that the kingdom of God as presented by Christ during his tenure on earth seemed to be upside-down since His focus was winning by serving and triumphed by losing something that was completely against the teaching of the time where the poor became poorer and rich richer and more so the two social groups never mixed with the rich rarely helping the poor.

Chapter 1

In chapter 1, “Down is Up,” Kraybill explains the characteristics of the Kingdom of God and addresses the five detours. In this chapter, the author explains on how John the Baptist, in Luke 34-6, shouted these words that, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight, every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth and all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Kraybill, 2012). In a critical analysis of this statement in chapter 1, the author supports his thesis by bringing out John the Baptists efforts to forewarn every individual that the Kingdom of God was forthcoming and it would dramatically change what they perceived as truth, thus overlooking the suffering and the poor. John the Baptist, in this chapter, elaborates that this Kingdom would have level bumps, straight curves, and flat mountains; when thing are turned upside down, this is an exact description of what happens. In her song, Mary sings of the hopes to come, the Magnificat. The author says that, in her vision, Mary cited five types of persons. For instance, individuals who are at the social pyramid’s top and they include the mighty, the wealthy, and the proud. These people who topple the social pyramid will be stripped of their thrones, and they will scatter away empty. The Upside-down kingdom will not only be hope for the lowly but also be a judgment to all the people who trample the helpless. The chapter clearly supports the thesis by illustrating that the kingdom of God will be upside-down, in that the poor and suffers will be elevated while the mighty, the rich, and the proud will be humbled.

Chapter 7

In chapter 7, Kraybill demarcates the economical alternative of Jubilee. Kraybill appears to raise a concern that people are at all the times tempted to lift the verses out of their context besides twisting their meaning in order to bless their personal economic philosophy. Apart from spinning the scripture to be in line with their ways, people also have a tendency of using the nonbiblical wisdom in rationalizing affluence. Kraybill does so by examining the Parable of the Talents and other verses which are continuously used to link affluence with God’s special blessing. Some of the detours we latch onto include, ‘Just tithe,’ If we give, we get’ and ‘The poor are always with you’ (Kraybill, 2012). This chapter supports the thesis by looking at the practical ways to downscale and bless those in need.

Chapter 8

Chapter 8 backs the thesis by detailing Jesus' refusal of the pietistic options of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. In this chapter, Kraybill focuses on Jesus’ impious piety along with His irreverence to the religious, social, and civil laws of his day. He unswervingly violated not only the oral traditions of His culture but also the Sabbath rules. Jesus did not abide by the ceremonial laws for cleanliness by seeking out connection and friendship with the undesirables of the day. We find that Jesus never at any one time see eye to eye with the religious rulers for the reasons that unlike them, He persisted in His quest to take the great news to the Gentiles besides casting out money changers from the temple (Kraybill, 2012).

Question for Class Discussions

Can we, in our world today, dispense with Jesus Christ calling as laid out in upside down Kingdom, to elevate the poor and sufferers?

who will really promote the equalizing of the social advantage given that there is an the inevitable gap between the weak and the strong in the society?


Kraybill, D. B. (2012). The upside-down kingdom. Scottdale, Pa: Herald Press.

May 24, 2023

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