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Jesus often spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven by using word pictures.
Before we talk about some of these word pictures, we should talk about what the “Kingdom of Heaven” or the “Kingdom of God” is.
First of all, can you have a Kingdom without a King? No. That doesn’t make sense, does it? And we know Jesus is the King of His Kingdom.
Do you think someone can be a part of God’s Kingdom if they won’t let Jesus be their King? No. That doesn’t make sense either.
So, God’s Kingdom is made up of everyone who bows their knee to Jesus and lets Him be their boss, their Lord and King. But it’s even MORE than that.
Jesus said, “From the time of John the Runner and Baptizer until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men grab hold of it.” What was Jesus talking about? What exactly were people “grabbing hold of”? They were grabbing hold of both Jesus and of a whole new life He was offering.
They didn’t even understand all that this new life meant. But just like how God sent His Son Jesus to the earth to show the world what He is like, Jesus was building a Kingdom of people who would also show what He’s like. His Kingdom would be an Expression (or a demonstration) of Himself on earth — His Church!
And if you little ones are wondering what “expression” means… To express yourself is to make known or to demonstrate how you feel, or what you think about something, or who you are. So, for God to have an “expression” of Himself here on earth, means that He has someone or something that makes known to others what He’s Like or what He’s thinking and feeling. His expression demonstrates WHO He is to everyone around.
So for all those in God’s Family and part of the Kingdom of God, their job is to show those on earth what it’s like in Heaven.
Now here are a few of the pictures that Jesus used to describe His Kingdom. He said, “What is God’s expression on earth like? It’s like someone who spreads seeds on the ground. They spread the seeds and go to bed — Zzzzz. Then when they get up — what do ya know? The seeds have sprouted and grown! The farmer doesn’t know how it happened, but the seeds and soil make lots of yummy food. First just a stalk, then a little head of grain, then ripe wheat. And when the grain is ripe, he sends in the sickle because the harvest has come.”
Again, Jesus said, “What is God’s expression on earth like? It’s like a secret treasure, buried and hidden in a field. And when someone discovers it, he quickly hides it again, and in excitement and joy he sells every last thing he has so that he can buy that field. That way the treasure is his forever!
“What is God’s expression on earth like? It is like a mustard seed. It may start out small but it surprises everybody by growing into the biggest garden plant of all, a tree that is a home for the birds and animals.
“What is God’s expression on earth like? It’s like a merchant who is always on the lookout for fine pearls to add to his collection. But when he finds a pearl of Great value that outshines any he has ever seen, he sells everything he has just to have that one precious Pearl.”
Now WHY would a merchant sell everything he has to buy one pearl? If he’s trying to make money, then that might not be a very good deal.
So why would a merchant do that? Because he’s a PEARL PERSON! That means he just loves pearls, and this pearl in particular has all his attention… his money… his time. He gives up everything for it — because all he cares about is pearls.
Jesus was telling them that if someone is trying to “decide” if the Kingdom of Heaven, the pearl, has value or is worth their investment, then that person will always just be looking for something for himself. A person like that will always be unstable and unreliable… because they’ll always be looking around the corner to see if there’s some better deal coming. That person can’t be depended on because they are just in it for themselves.
A person like that is not a Kingdom of Heaven PERSON.
But the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom where God lives, the Kingdom where Jesus is on the throne and all of creation bows and shouts and worships — THAT Kingdom is only for the People who love it! People who live for the beauty and the power and the music and the Life of God Expressing Himself on earth.
And people who love it, sell everything they have for it. They have no desire or ability to invest in anything else, and they don’t care what someone looking in from the outside thinks about it.
The person who loves Jesus and His expression of Himself on earth says, “So what?! This (Life of Jesus) is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. And what the businessman thinks makes no difference to me whatsoever. I simply love this guy and His girl. And that is that.“
Later in this story, you’ll see this expression of Heaven on earth. Jesus’ Kingdom, His Family, His community, will be filled with His Spirit. And as they daily live out His Life together, they will show to the world who God is and what He’s really like.
And this kingdom will get bigger and bigger and bigger — advancing and advancing — until one day, this expression of Jesus on the earth will knock down satan’s rusty gates of hell.
So from the time of John the runner, the invitations to the Real Party were going out! And those with Heaven-Eyes were “grabbing hold” and saying, “I’m COMING to the Party!”