32 times. Jesus talks about the “Kingdom of Heaven” 32 times in the Gospel of Matthew.
Friends, let me tell you, if Jesus says something 32 times, I think it’s pretty important.
Or maybe even the main point.
The Kingdom of Heaven.
I didn’t understand it at first. I kind of just was banking on the hope that Jesus would one day just whisk me off into a faraway land where I can be in front of Him and where the streets are gold and my heart is really, really happy.
And I still think that’s absolutely true.
But, Jesus talks about the Kingdom of Heaven being near. (Matthew 3:2)
When he tells us how to pray, one of the first things he says is “Let Your kingdom come.” (Matthew 6:10)
He frequently told parables starting with, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like..” (Matthew 13)
What does this mean?
Well, it finally clicked. The light bulb flashed on.
The Kingdom of Heaven is everything.
You see, at first, in the garden, God’s world and our world were intermixed. The same world. The kingdom.
But then, they got separated with sin.
So then, there was two worlds: God’s Holy world and our sin-filled world. And to communicate with God in God’s world, people had to sacrifice animals because that soaked up some of the sin in our world, and gave a little Holy bubble where they could communicate with God.
But the two worlds were still separated.
SO when Jesus came down, he was a little of both of the worlds. He was the overlapping section of two circles. He was God’s world, overlapping with a part of ours.
And since Jesus is the part that allows God’s world to overlap into ours, when we spread “Jesus”, we are bringing more of God’s world into ours.
And soon, our entire sin-filled world will be touched by God’s world, and they will become completely restored and intermixed again. The same world. The Kingdom.
This is what we mean when we say, “Let Your Kingdom come.”
We mean, let us help to spread the redemption of Jesus’ work on the cross in order that more people would be restored, furthering God’s kingdom.
We mean, we want people to know Jesus. Of His love, of His sacrifice, of His Kingdom.
This is why we go. This is why we tell. This is why we love.
Because when the two worlds again come together, everything will be restored as it was in the garden. You will be restored. I will be restored. This world will be restored. Everything will be perfectly good. We will live in peace and joy looking into God’s face every day. Restored hearts, restored laughter, restored joy. We will be full. And complete.
In the Chronicles of Narnia, when their world is made complete, the unicorn says,
“The reason why we loved the old Narnia is because it looked a little like this one.”
Maybe that’s why we love the good things in this world so much: daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, worship, sunsets, flowers, music, and more. Maybe we love them so much because they look a little like what’s to come.
The Kingdom of Heaven has this odd characteristic to it: since Jesus Christ came, the Kingdom is “already, but not yet.” It is, “full, but not complete.” We are “satisfied, but still yearning.”
It can be described like this: You go to an ice cream shop and sample the vanilla ice cream on a little spoon. You can fully taste the vanilla, but you do not yet have your full vanilla cone.
Now, we can taste the goodness of God’s glory. We fully have it, but it’s not complete yet.
Now, we are completely satisfied with God, but still yearning for God.
This is the paradox of the Kingdom.
This is the essence of Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate restorer of the Kingdom.
This is the essence of us. We are Kingdom-workers.
I mean, Jesus told us 32 times. The Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew)
Friends, may we be Kingdom workers. May we go out today, whether that’s to the grocery store, to your class, or to Africa, and spread the name and love of Jesus.
Friends, may we not forget that the Kingdom is coming one person at a time. It’s not always in big ways with big crowds. But with one person.
Friends, may we not forget the value of small acts of love in Jesus’ name. May we not overlook the great impact this has for the Kingdom.
My brothers and sisters, may you ask God to send out more workers to the harvest.Because what Jesus did on the cross is too good to keep to ourselves. May we go in the name of Jesus.
He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into his fields.”
With much, much love. –Melissa