Already, but not yet – Part 1

Jesus is concerned about his kingdom.

It is pretty easy to agree with that statement if you read the gospel account of Matthew. The kingdom of heaven is possibly the most prevalent theme in the book, and is most often recorded off the lips of Jesus himself.

Yet, for most of us, the kingdom of God is a vague, confusing title we may not understand. When it is discussed, it either sounds so theologically stuffy that it is boring and unhelpful, or it is done so simply that it is vague and serves no real purpose. Instead, we must find a road between. Understanding the kingdom was a big deal to Jesus, so it must be pretty important. My hope in writing my next few posts is bringing the kingdom of heaven out of the clouds so that people who have never been to seminary can get excited about it too. Honestly, the idea is only as complex and boring as we make it. Jesus got excited about it, and so should we.

Large, multi-chapter sections are dedicated to this one concept. In chapter 13, Jesus tells story after story about the kingdom and what it is like. Again in Matthew 24-25, he goes over the kingdom in detail. Honestly, as one walks through the pages of Matthew’s account, the phrase “The kingdom of heaven is like…” becomes almost redundant.

One thing is certain; Jesus wants people to know what his kingdom is like, and he has good reason. For anyone who professes Christ, understanding the kingdom of God is paramount. It is essential. It is they way we know who we are, what we belong to, and what we are supposed to be doing.

Put simply, if you do not understand this kingdom, then you do not understand Christianity. You will live life for the wrong reasons, and you will live the wrong way, with the wrong motives and the wrong ideas about why Jesus died and what that means to you.

Friends, you must get this one. It changes your life.

That is why Jesus spends so much time telling people about it. And when we consider his words in Matthew, we begin to get a picture of this kingdom.

It is a big topic. So big, it will take me a few stabs to scratch the surface. Hopefully, in the coming posts, we will try to get a rough understanding of the kingdom from Jesus’ view in Matthew and then apply that understanding to how we live.

More to come…

 

Keelan

Keelan Cook (@keelancook) is working on a PhD in Biblical Studies at Southeastern and works in the Center for Great Commission Studies. He spent time as a church planter in West Africa with the IMB and doing ethno-graphic research in Washington, DC with NAMB. Keelan is currently one of the pastors at Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, NC.

 

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