The Gospel writers record that
Jesus begins most of His stories
with words about a kingdom that
was nothing like any the people
had ever seen or heard of before.
In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus uses
the phrase, “the kingdom of Heaven
is like” 32 times as He teaches the
people. Mark and Luke, however,
record Jesus’ use of this phrase
only five times in both of their Gospels combined. It
is generally agreed that the ‘kingdom of Heaven’ in
Matthew’s account means the same thing as the
‘kingdom of God’ in the others.

Regardless of the actual terminology that is used, we
understand that Jesus is very intent on describing
something that is like ‘Breaking News’, unlike anything
else that His listeners would know about. And
so, He told them stories of things they did know about
to help describe something new. This kingdom He
was talking about was very much ‘other-worldly’,
something that extended even beyond this planet.

Commentators remind us that the use of the word
‘kingdom’ doesn’t only relate to a ‘realm’, or territory,
which a King controlled, but this expression could
also be used to mean “rule”. In this way, we understand
that God is doing something, such as ‘actively
ruling’, rather than just having a territory over which
He is sovereign. Someone said it this way, ‘The kingdom
is something that happens rather than something
that exists.’

This statement is really understood to mean that this
kingdom of Heaven is very closely connected with the
person, and the ministry of Jesus. And in this context,
even though the language makes it sound like something
that would happen in the future, Jesus confirms
that it is truly about the ‘present’. We remember His
words in Matthew 4.17 at the very beginning of His
ministry when He said ‘the kingdom of Heaven is at
hand.” And in Luke 17.21 Jesus said “the kingdom of
God is in your midst”. We can even imagine that He
could have added “and this kingdom is all about Me.”

This week, our study into the Stories of Jesus will
take us to yet another of the parables that begins with
this familiar phrase. And in this story we will yet again
get the clear understanding that Jesus was anxious
for all of us to remain focused everyday on that wonderful
day when we will all experience His Kingdom in

Pastor Phil, Interim Pastor