What do you think of when you hear the phrase “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of heaven”?
That phrase is used 69 times in the New Testament. “”kingdom of heaven” is used 32 times.
It must have some importance!
In fact, Jesus preached about that “kingdom” more than any other topic!
In the past my opinion has been that it is coming when Jesus comes the second time. He will come and take his living and resurrected followers to heaven… the “kingdom of heaven.”
But that can’t possible be right, because at one point Jesus told the people, “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” Matt 21:43
And in another place he said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15
What shocked me even more was this text:
Matt 11:12* “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force.”
Now if this kingdom was something in the future, how could he have said this about his PRESENT TIME?
When he sent his disciples out on their first missionary trip, he sent them in pairs and told them to “… preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Matt 10:7*
Matt 19:14* but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Well, if it belongs to the kids, what hope do I have?
My hope is in this text:
Matt 7:21* “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Then, being the selfish people that they were (like me), they wanted to know which of them would be the greatest (or vice-president) in this new kingdom.
Matt 18:1* At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
And again he said;
Matt 18:3 “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and
become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
You won’t even enter the kingdom, let alone be the greatest!
The kingdom belongs to kids or people who act like kids! WOW!
Matt 19:14* “Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’”
Matt 18:4* Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Humility seems to be the key here…
Matt 11:11* Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Matt 13:10-11* The disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in Parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”
13* “This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”
15* “For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they (they are afraid that they) should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.”
Do your own search of the “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of heaven.” Pick one or more of the texts, read it in its context and be ready to give a “kid’s explanation” to us adults about what the “kingdom” is, that Jesus was talking about.
Luke 12:29* And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind.
30* For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them.
31* Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well.
32* “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Keep in mind that Jesus said the kingdom belongs to you, maybe it would be worthwhile to know what it is that can be yours!
I would encourage you to give some thought to what it is that you are getting.