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Jesus’ Preoccupation with the Kingdom

In the previous post, I introduced what will be an ongoing look at the kingdom of God. The first contention was that the primary polemic and purpose of the gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) was to establish Jesus as the rightful king. At his birth, at his trial and at his death, the Scriptures declare Jesus as king. But the gospel writers go further. As the describe Jesus, his teachings and miracles, they picture someone who was himself consumed and preoccupied by the kingdom of God.

That is, Jesus taught about and thought about the kingdom of God more than any other single topic. More than money. More than heaven or hell. More than salvation. Because all of those find their meaning and purpose under the umbrella of the kingdom of God. Following are just some of the verses about the kingdom found in the gospels, with a short declaration of its implication.

  • “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near'” (Matt. 4:17).
    • The coming of the kingdom should lead us to repentance.
  • “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).
    • The kingdom is coming not to the powerful, but to unexpected people.
  • “Then Jesus asked, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches'” (Luke 13:18-19).
    • The kingdom of God is growing and expanding – and will do so until it fills the whole earth.
  • “But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it'” (Luke 18:16-17).
    • Again, the kingdom is coming to unexpected people.
  • “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
    • In his model prayer, Jesus calls us to pray that the kingdom would come on earth. More on this important thought in a future post.
  • “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt. 6:33).
    • The kingdom is to be of first priority to us as God’s people.

In total, the NIV has 116 verses with the word “kingdom” in the gospels! This is, obviously, just a subset. I have compiled the full list here: Kingdom Verses. Here’s the point: the kingdom of God was Jesus’ preoccupation. And, according to Matthew 6:33, he has invited (nay, instructed) us to be preoccupied by his kingdom too.

Interact: Jesus has instructed us to be preoccupied with his kingdom. But to do so, we have to know what the kingdom of God is. What is the kingdom of God?



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