Scripture: Matthew 13:44-46; Matthew 13:31-33
During the season of Lent we are doing a sermon series called, The Footsteps of Jesus. Last week, we discussed how Christians are expected to be an advocate for the needs of the poor and provide healthcare for those who cannot afford it for themselves. From here, Jesus moves onto the fifth step in his ministry—he begins telling parables.
The parables we read discuss the kingdom of God, which begs the question, what exactly is God’s kingdom? The kingdom of God represented a future state of the world where the Jews would be in control. The way this would happen is that God would come from heaven with armies of angels and fight alongside the Jewish people, destroying all the major nations of the Earth. Once the Jews were victorious, all these former nations would be subsumed into one large nation that encompassed the whole Earth.
These parables give us a hint as to how the Jews of Jesus’ day thought of God’s kingdom. The Jews talked about the coming of God’s kingdom all the time, but the truth is that many people had given up hope that God was going to do anything for them. The kingdom of God felt like an impossible reality. It was the stuff of myth and fables. Sure the scribes and the rabbis said it would happen one day, but your average Jew had dismissed the kingdom of God as nothing more than a fairy tale.
I think most of us today, with 2000 years of hindsight, would say the doubters were right. God didn’t intervene. God didn’t merge heaven and Earth. God didn’t save the Jews. As a result, I think Christians are placed in this interesting position. We read these parables and wonder, “What exactly was Jesus talking about all those years ago? The kingdom of God isn’t here today, so was Jesus lying or were we looking for the wrong thing?”
This Sunday we’re going to talk about the impossibility of God’s kingdom and how Jesus expects us to overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles to make God’s kingdom a reality. Spring is finally starting to peak through. I hope you have the opportunity to come on Sunday as I am telling one of the greatest stories of human achievement ever to unfold. Have a great weekend!