As we continue to explore the
stories that Jesus told it is
interesting to note just how many
of them begin with the words,
“the kingdom of Heaven is like….”
The things that Jesus was talking
about day after day sounded
somewhat familiar but oh, so very
different at the same time.
His listeners had a very good understanding of life as
they were experiencing it in the Jewish culture and the
Roman rules. Jesus also understood that, when all the
expectations that had been levied on the people were
tallied, the burden of their required behavior was
Yes, Jesus well knew how overwhelmed the people felt.
They might as well have been robots just going through
the motions throughout their lives. And as He
pronounced the lessons that He had come to share, His
messages were simple, and yet sometimes they could also
be a bit confusing. That’s the way it is with parables,
sometimes He taught through the use of parables and
sometimes the parables were used to compare and
contrast His words with their understanding.
And, in the midst of the ridiculous rituals and rules, Jesus
lifted the sights of the people to the ‘kingdom of Heaven’.
The concept of a kingdom was very important to the
people. Their anticipation was that the Messiah would
work to establish a kingdom, a ruling power, a
government, to organize, support, and facilitate the
long-awaited return to the life and times of their kings.
Yet, when we talk about Heaven today, we don’t often
think of it as a kingdom. But in those sessions on the
hillside, the people were fixated on the importance of a
kingdom. They even got a bit forceful with Jesus after they
witnessed what He did with a few loaves of bread and a
couple of fish. Surely He was the promised Messiah, and
surely He would understand that they were ‘way past
ready’ to overthrow the Romans so the Israelite Nation
could return to prominence.
Jesus could have established an earthly kingdom, but He
was more concerned about the desperate need of His
people to be set free to experience the Heavenly kingdom
in all of its fullness, splendor, peace, and beauty. Yes,
that kingdom seemed to be very prominent in the stories
of Jesus, as well it should be. After all, that’s the kingdom
that He wants to share with all of us, forever!
Pastor Phil, Interim Pasto