God's Kingdom Advances

Description

It is through suffering that the Kingdom grows--the suffering of Jesus and that of his people.

Pray:

Lord God, there is nothing on earth I desire other than You. Hear my words of trust and thanks.

Read:

Matthew 11:1-19

Meditate

Consider: "And this kingdom will know no end. And its glory shall know no bounds. For the majesty and power of this kingdom's king has come" (Geoff Bullock). Reflect on the wonderful words of this contemporary song of praise.

Think Further:

Years ago I lived in a small Australian harbor town, which was to be visited by the Royal Yacht Britannia bringing the Queen. In a flurry of enthusiasm all the roads she would travel were hastily patched, buildings painted and streets decorated in readiness for our important guest. This sprucing up is often seen in the US when the President comes to town. John the Baptist's role was similar in preparing the way for the King of Kings. His unusual, dramatic persona attracted crowds into the inhospitable Judean wilderness to hear this messenger from God (Mal. 3:1), boldly call them to repentance. God's Kingdom and his Messiah were coming. However, it seems that John's expectations were not fully met by Jesus, so he sent disciples to Jesus to question him. Jesus invited them to observe the signs of God's presence predicted by Isaiah (Isa. 35:5,6; 29:18; 61:1,2)--bringing deliverance to the blind, the deaf, the lame and lepers, life to the dead and good news to the poor.

By his humorous questioning of the crowd about John, Jesus drew attention to the dawning of a new era in which John, the greatest prophet born, would be superseded by members of the new order of God's Kingdom, which Jesus would inaugurate. His kingdom would advance in triumph in this world, but not in the expected way. Both John and Jesus were unconventional figures. Although many listened, few responded with genuine repentance or commitment. Both men were rejected by the majority of their generation for totally opposite reasons. Their bold proclamation provoked their violent deaths. The kingdom would always be subject to violence, but its members, who accept Jesus' wise message and embrace the new things God does in their lifetime, will share in the greatness Jesus speaks about. They may suffer violence, but it is through suffering that the Kingdom grows--the suffering of Jesus and that of his people.

Apply:

Am I blinded by my expectations of how God works? Are my eyes open to see his Kingdom advancing or do I see suffering, opposition and death as defeat?

Pray:

Mighty God, Your Kingdom knows no end, and it is continuing to grow in our midst. Prosper the efforts to share the Good News and continue to build Your Kingdom.

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