Jesus Teaches About the Kingdom of God

And if thou be not in the kingdom of Christ, it is certain that thou belonged to the kingdom of Satan, which is this evil world. (Martin Luther - in Who Said That? by George Sweeting, p. 288). … More

Kingdom

The general expectation in Jesus’ day was that the Messiah would come as a great king and leader, to set up His kingdom, and to free the nation from the rule of Rome. However, in the parable of the “mustard seed” (vv. 18-19) and the parable of “the leaven” (vv. 20-22), Jesus points out two aspects of the kingdom. The first is how the church will grow to be a large tree and the second is how evil doctrine will spread throughout its branches. Jesus knew that He was on His way to die, but He continued preaching to large crowds (v. 22). The prospect of death did not deter Jesus from His mission.

Someone asked Jesus if only a few people were going to be saved (v. 23). He responded to the person’s question with a story of a man who was giving a feast (verses 24-29). After he had closed the  door to the banquet, no one else could come in, for they were too late (v. 25). Jesus was actually teaching that the people needed to respond to His invitation now, for the time will come when it would be too late and they would not be allowed in the kingdom. The longer sinners wait, the harder their hearts will become, and one of the agonies of hell will be the remembrance of opportunities wasted (vv. 26-28).

God’s kingdom will include people from every part of the world (v. 29). True Israel includes all people who believe in God. There will be many surprises in God’s kingdom. Some who are despised now will be greatly honored then and some who are influential now will be left outside the gates (v. 30). What matters to God is not a person’s earthly popularity, wealth, status or power, but his or her commitment to Christ. At this point the Pharisees urged Jesus to leave because they wanted to stop him from going to Jerusalem (vv. 31-32). They weren’t interested in protecting Him but were trying to trap Him. They wanted to stop Him from going to Jerusalem but Jesus life, work and death were not to be determined by Herod or the Pharisees but by God Himself (v. 33). Jerusalem had a history of rejecting God’s prophets and now Jesus(vv. 34-35).

Application

When I see the forces of evil winning so many battles, it can make me feel like withdrawing, but hopefully it will cause me to roll up my sleeves and do everything I can for the cause of Christ.

Luke 13:18-35 (English Standard Version)

He said therefore, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches." And again he said, "To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened." He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, open to us,' then he will answer you, 'I do not know where you come from.' Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.' But he will say, 'I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!' In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last." At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." And he said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.' O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'"

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