The proclamation of the kingdom
|These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. 11 "Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (Matthew10:5-16)|
In his book Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict tells us that "the phrase 'Kingdom of God' occurs 122 times in the New Testament" and that 99 of these are found in the the three Synoptic Gospel and 90 of the 99 texts report the words of Jesus.
Our text for today helps us to understand what it means to proclaim the Kingdom of God as we watch the Commander in Chief give orders to the twelve. It is clear from this command that they were not on their own. This was not their mission. This was God's mission and they were God's men. The Church of God is on a mission of proclaiming God's Kingdom.
One of the "Reformation solas", Solus Christus (Christ alone), helps us to understand that the Kingdom is not a thing, it is not a geographical dominion. It is a person and that person is Christ. On this interpretation the term "Kingdom" is itself a veiled Christology. Jesus leads men and women to realise the overwhelming fact that in him God himself is present among them, that he is God's presence. As the church we are sent to the world to be ambassadors of his missional work. This is exactly what happened with the twelve. The Kingdom of God resides in the heart of men and women who he calls.
Daniel 2:44 tells us that the "the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed". In this text in Matthew we learn that Jesus called disciples and sent them to the word to build God's Kingdom. As the church we are called build this Kingdom amongst the nations.
We also learn in this text that the Kingdom of God is a spiritual rule over the hearts and lives of those who willing submit to God's authority. Those who defy God's authority and refuse to submit to him are not part of the Kingdom of God. In contrast are those who acknowledge the Lordship of Christ, who gladly surrender to God's rule in their hearts and who are part of the Kingdom God. Let's surrender all and follow him to build his Kingdom.
Madoda Mfene is the Minister at Tiyo Soga Memorial in Langa Cape Town. He's married to Noxolo Mfene and is the father of two boys Chulumanco and Liyema, one daughter Lihle. He enjoys sport, reading and travelling.
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