17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
The kingdom narrative is a thread throughout the Bible. Jesus himself said that, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36), helping His followers understand that He did not come to set up another political system or to seize power. Instead, Jesus abdicated power and taught us that many of God’s truths are paradoxical. Jesus did not socialize with the rich and powerful, but spent time with the lowly and despised. As a leader, he washed his followers’ feet. He gave dignity to those whom the world looked down upon. He said the ones who were “blessed” were not the most religious – the Pharisees and teachers of the law whom he called hypocrites and a brood of vipers – instead, He said that the blessed ones were the poor in spirit, the meek, those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, the peacemakers and those that are persecuted for their righteousness. Jesus challenged the value matrix of the world by showing us how God sees things.
And He is telling us to live our lives accordingly. We should not live as if “this is earth and that is Heaven,” giving ourselves license to live as the world lives. Instead, we are to live out the words of Christ’s prayer that “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.