by Wesley Blackburn
So the kingdom of heaven (or “kingdom of God;” the gospels use those terms interchangeably) is a pretty important thing in the life, teaching, and ministry of Jesus. You can’t read the gospels without running into this theme. In Matthew 13, Jesus drops some really important knowledge on the kingdom of heaven here. Let me share with you a few of things that I walked away from this reading with:
1. We have a role in accepting the kingdom of God. I was hit by this with the parable of the sower. Jesus tells the parable, but what is really telling is his later explanation of the parable in chapter 13. Look at each description of what the four types of seeds mean. We have a role in accepting the kingdom of God. We must receive the kingdom with knowledge, or we’ll get scooped up. We must receive the kingdom with priority, or the troubles and worries of life will choke us out. If we want to truly receive the kingdom of God and participate as a member of the kingdom of God, we have to do just that… receive it. We have to understand what the kingdom is and what it asks of us. But we also have to understand what the kingdom is and what it is not. What is God promising us really? If we have wrong expectations, we’ll surely be disappointed.
2. The kingdom of God does not promise an easy life. We sort of get this in the parable of the sower… Jesus talks about cares and troubles of life causing trouble in the parable of the sower, which seems to indicate that that’s to be expected. But the parable of the weeds even more accurately illustrates this point. Just like the wheat and weeds in the parable, members of the kingdom are going to see their lives merge at some point or another with difficult, terrible experiences (and people) in life. People are going to make our lives tough. We’re going to have difficult experiences and tough choices. There are going to be moments of weakness and despair. Things will be unfair. That’s to be expected. I think that we all know that in our heads; but this year I’ve been coming to grips that while I know that, I still find myself complaining, “This is hard, Jesus! This feels unfair!” and pouting all the time. There will be difficulty in following Christ. That shouldn’t erode our faith, but strengthen it… Christ himself promises us that.
3. The kingdom of God is priceless. Chances are we’ve all seen the Mastercard commercials that talk about things being “priceless.” If there was ever something that is priceless, the Bible tells us that is the kingdom of God. Just like the man who finds buried treasure or an incredibly valuable pearl, we need to give all we have in search of the kingdom. When God presents us with an opportunity to continue helping the kingdom or playing our part in God’s story, we need to take it. We need to do it. God’s Word tells us that is priceless, above all things.