Kingdom of God Part 3
Our discussion so far has sought to define and examine the Kingdom of God as the scripture presents it. We have found God establishing his kingdom on earth since the fall of creation through leaders such as Abraham, then Kings, then prophets with prophecies of a Messiah. Jesus is born and the kingdom comes in flesh. He ushered in a new era expectation of what the Kingdom of God was to become…the indwelling of the Holy Spirit one believer at a time. These Christians would be the presence of God’s kingdom on earth until the end of time when God himself will establish an eternal Kingdom in a new heaven and new earth.
Today we look within the New Testament as Jesus uses parables to teach about the kingdom and this new means of kingdom delivery. Let us look at some passages of scripture.
We begin with Mark 10:13-15 which says, “13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Jesus illustrates for us how we are to enter this kingdom–like a child. We are to “come admitting that we have nothing to give to God but that we depend fully and completely on His unmerited favor… the Greek word translated as “child” refers to the youngest and most helpless of children. Christ is calling us to utter dependence on Him…” (Ligonier Ministries) A child does not have pretense, distrust or limitations to their imagination. A child needs protection and provision from outside of themselves. This is how we are to live in the Kingdom of God, simple faith with utter dependency while in awe of him.
Our second scripture is Matthew 13:44-45. It reads, “44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” This is a description of how we should feel and live about the Kingdom of God. A charge to deny self and take up your cross as you make the kingdom your priority, because of your understanding of the pricelessness of salvation and the kingdom.
The third passage is Matthew 13:31-33, “31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” 33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” The idea he sought to convey was the unlikely way the kingdom was to come. The smallest of seeds would be ignored until its presence could no longer be overlooked. Then and there, as a full-grown tree, it would be an unwanted perch for birds in the middle of a field where food was growing. The world was to witness the Kingdom’s growth, but not realize what it was. The second comparison of the kingdom to yeast was unexpected for the Jewish audience as it was connected to sin in the Feast of Unleavened Bread if kept in the house during Passover. Yet Jesus is conveying his Gospel would be pervasive throughout all the world as the Kingdom is ushered in little by little. In both cases, it was made clear that God’s establishment of his realm would be unconventional.
Our fourth scripture is Mark 4:26-29, “26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain–first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Here Jesus is pointing to a slow and hidden kingdom, which was the opposite of what the Jews expected–an apocalyptic exchange of power. They wanted a King of notable physical stature and military prowess to ride in and instantly set them free from other national powers. However, what Jesus wanted the Jews to learn was to change the time table of the coming kingdom in their minds.
Our fifth and final passage today is Luke 12:35-48 which is a warning, yet a promise of the future coming of the kingdom. We must be ready through relational growth with Jesus, Bible study, effective prayer, and kingdom service. Verse 48b says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Indeed, we have been given much in the pearl of great price, thus his expectations are high. The consummation of the kingdom could be at any time, thus we ought to be actively waiting to meet his expectations.
While there are more Bible passages for us to examine, we will pause here and resume in our next writing. So far today we have heard Jesus teach that we are to have child-like faith to enter, live and fully realize all the kingdom has to offer; the kingdom’s message of salvation is like a treasure of which we sell all we have to possess it, as it is why we believed on Jesus and are yielding to his Lordship. It is the pearl of great price; the kingdom will come through unconventional means; the kingdom will grow one soul at a time instead of an apocalyptic change of power; and our Father has high expectations of us, for to us much has been given so we ought to be actively waiting rather than passively waiting.
There is truly so much to learn and understand about the Kingdom of God. The more we understand, the better we can pray which is where and why we started on this discussion a few weeks ago. With Christmas just days away, may we ensure our prayer is “your kingdom come” with the birth of Jesus the Christ.