Sunday, September 6, 2020
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matt. 11:12)
A dominant theme of Jesus’ teaching is on the kingdom of God. Jesus presents numerous word-pictures of what this supernatural realm “is like.” but the kingdom is not merely to be understood with the mind. Rather, it is spiritual and is to be comprehended and entered into by spiritual means and in practical living. Let us mediate daily on Jesus’ words in order to receive the keys of the kingdom.
Jesus asserts the “violence” of the kingdom. the unique grammatical construction of the text does not make clear if the kingdom of God is the victim of violence or if, as the kingdom advances in victory. Nor does it through violent spiritual conflict and warfare.
However the context does. Jesus’ references to the nonreligious style of John and the confrontive, miraculous ministry of Elijah teaches, that the kingdom of God makes its penetration by a kind of violent entry opposing the human status quo.
Jesus defines the “violence” of His kingdom’s expansion by defining the “sword” and “fire” He has brought as different from the battle techniques of political or military warfare (compare Matt. 10:34-39 and Luke 12:49-53 with John 18:35). The upheaval caused by the kingdom of God is not caused by political provocation or armed advance. It is the result of God’s order shaking relationships, household, cities, and nations by the entry of the Holy Spirit’s power working in people (See Luke 16:16).
You are loved, Pastor Don