“Here comes the kingdom of heaven!”

Posted Aug 27, 2018

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Daily Scripture

Matthew 3:1-2

1 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!”

Matthew 4:17-23

17 From that time Jesus began to announce, “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!”

18 As Jesus walked alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, because they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” 20 Right away, they left their nets and followed him. 21 Continuing on, he saw another set of brothers, James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father repairing their nets. Jesus called them and 22 immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. 23 Jesus traveled throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues. He announced the good news of the kingdom and healed every disease and sickness among the people.

Reflection Questions

Matthew recapped both John the Baptizer’s and Jesus’ preaching with the words, “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!” Translators often render the Greek behind “Change your hearts and lives” as “repent,” but we sometimes miss the point of that word. “This is a call not merely for us to feel sorry for our sins or even just to accept forgiveness for them, but to choose a different and wiser course of living.”*

  • Matthew said Jesus prayed, “Bring in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) That was one idea, not two. “The Hebrew tended to say everything… in one way, and then in another way which repeated, amplified or explained the first way…. “Thy kingdom come —Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” The second petition explains and amplifies… the first…. To be in the Kingdom is to obey the will of God.”** How did this part of Jesus' prayer clarify why Jesus' kingdom preaching began with “Change your hearts and lives”?
  • Jesus began his public preaching ministry talking about the Kingdom of God. How was it different to proclaim, “Here comes the kingdom of heaven!” (literally, “the Kingdom of heaven has come near”) than to say, “God’s kingdom will come someday”? In what ways is God’s kingship a current reality in your life, not just a distant future hope?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, “bring in your kingdom, so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven.” Please do that in my everyday life, Lord. Amen.


* Ben Witherington III and Darlene Hyatt, study note on Matthew 4:17 in The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible. HarperSanFrancisco, 2005, p. 1799.

** William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew: Volume 1. The Daily Study Bible series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1975, pp. 211-212.

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Donna Karlen

Donna Karlen

Donna Karlen serves with the Communications Ministry working on special projects.

When someone signs up for a mission trip
to help rebuild or teach or equip…
Here comes the kingdom of heaven!  

When a blood donor rolls up his or her sleeve
sharing the gift of life for others to receive…
Here comes the kingdom of heaven!  

When a family serves as God’s hands and feet
through FaithWork – so many needs they can meet…
Here comes the kingdom of heaven! 

When volunteers enter a partner school
as tutors and buddies – they make school so cool…
Here comes the kingdom of heaven! 

When kids go home with healthy snacks for weekends
or a prisoner is visited by compassionate friends…
Here comes the kingdom of heaven! 

When donating furniture or clothing helps give a new start
or just listening to another heals a hurting heart…
Here comes the kingdom of heaven! 

When we seek out and find the least and the lost
and share with them the hope of the cross…
Here comes the kingdom of heaven! 

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