Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Father, my vision of Your Kingdom
may be skewed by my own human experience.
Open my eyes that I may see the truth.
Freely I have received so much from You.
I will freely give.

Series Focus: “Thy Kingdom Come”

When you hear the word “kingdom,” what do you think about? What image does that portray? Is it the Disney picture of the perfect castle, with the prince and the princess? Is it high fortress walls and draw-bridges? Is it a well-suited army, decorated with front-line banners, flags, and bugles? Words conjure images and emotions in our minds and souls, based on past experiences, stories, and memories.

Although we think of kingdoms in one way, God has a very different “image” of what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like. We enjoy a glimpse of the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 10:5-8, when Jesus instructs the disciples to go out and preach the Gospel:

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.”

Jesus came for the Jew AND the Gentile. However, in this instance, He specifically instructed the disciples to go only to the Jewish people, describing them as the lost sheep. The Jewish people were looking for a military and political warrior who would reign victoriously over every world system. They were, in effect, sheep without a shepherd. They needed a revelation of what the Kingdom of Heaven truly looked like and what the Kingdom of God was really about – otherwise, they would miss the coming of the Messiah completely.

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” That is what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like. Not political reign. Not military victory. But mercy, compassion, kindness, goodness, assistance, love, miracles and power to overcome all evil – in and by love.

Things aren’t always what they seem. Many times we are looking for the answer, the solution, the way, and we are completely blind-sided by God’s actual truth, plan, and will.

Jesus exhorted the disciples by saying, “Freely you received, now freely give.” The disciples had received instruction, forgiveness, restoration, provision, and so much more. Jesus then instructed them to give, just as they had received – and not to expect payment or status or recompense of any sort from those to whom they provided these Kingdom gifts.

So what does this all mean for us today? The account in Matthew 10 shows us Jesus directly instructing the disciples. Some may say that was isolated instruction – just for them in that time. However, we see almost the very same instruction in the Great Commission – the instruction Jesus left the disciples with in Mark 16:15-18:

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

No longer to the Jewish people only, but to the whole creation were the disciples instructed to go. Proclaim the Gospel. Preach the Kingdom.  Cast out demons. Heal the sick. Overcome evil victoriously through faith in God, believing Jesus is His Son.

Are you a disciple of Jesus? A student of His teachings? A believer and follower of Christ? A doer of the Word? If so, then you carry the Gospel with you and are a minister of reconciliation – to share the Kingdom of Heaven and help bring others into the Kingdom of God.

Not brick and mortar. Not bugles and flags. Not decorated armies and man-made weapons. That’s not what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like. People released from the bondage of sin. The chains of addiction being broken. Sickness, disease and pain leaving. Healing and wholeness being experienced. Deliverance from all evil. Recovery. Restoration. Freedom. Those are the images we see as we gaze upon the Kingdom. People – lovingly, mercifully, miraculously being set free.

Friend, you, as a believer in Jesus, have freely received so much from Almighty God. Now go. Freely give. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand still today.

Holding Fast to Hope,

Scripture References: Matthew 10:5-15; Mark 16:15-18; Isaiah 55:8-9; John 10:11-18; 2 Corinthians 5:11-21


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