Tuesday, March 6, 2018

EmmDev 2018-03-06 [Lent2018] Kingdoms...


From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."      (Matthew4:17)
Matthew is a typical Hebrew. For him the name of God was so holy and so sacred, that he avoided using it unnecessarily. To talk of the "Kingdom of Heaven" is Matthew's respectful way to refer to the Kingdom of God. (Mark and Luke speak of the "Kingdom of God")

But Matthew's euphemistic language makes a good point. How does heaven have a Kingdom? It can only be that way if someONE is on the throne. A kingdom is about who is on the throne.

Jesus begins His public ministry with the core-decision or question that every one of us must answer:

Who is on the throne?

Heaven's kingdom has God on the throne. Matthew's reverent language makes it clear that this God is to be respected and honoured.

But Jesus' opening sermon recognises that God is not respected and honoured in our own hearts. When we talk about ourselves the truth has to be that most of the time it is the "Kingdom of me" and not the "Kingdom of Heaven."

And so we must repent.

We have to take ourselves off the throne.
Our pride, our ambition, our opinions, our agendas, our cravings and even the brokenness that causes us to behave defensively or aggressively must come off the throne.

Who or what is usurping the throne of your heart? There is a better kingdom that is just one repentant decision away...

Maybe for the rest of Lent we need to start each day by listening sincerely to Jesus' eight word opening sermon: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

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