Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Kingdom of Quiet Revolution

But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. Yet He warned them not to make Him known. (Matthew 12:15-16)
Jesus had so angered the Pharisees with His claim to be Lord over the Sabbath, they went out scheming how they might bring Him down. When Jesus learned of this, He departed. His kingdom is forceful, and those who enter in are passionate for it, but it is not about violent physical conflict.

As He left, large crowds followed after Him, many of whom were sick, for Jesus had just demonstrated that healing is a good thing and it is the Father’s will to heal even on the Sabbath. They came because they believed. Matthew notes the result very simply: “He healed them all.”

Jesus healed the multitude, then strictly admonished them not to make it widely known. He wanted to avoid the additional publicity, perhaps because He did not wish to exacerbate the situation of the Pharisees and confirm them in their hardness of heart, for there were still some among them who were open to His message. Matthew sees in this reticence a fulfillment of what Isaiah foretold:
Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen,
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
He will not quarrel nor cry out,
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;
And in His name Gentiles will trust.
(Matthew 12:18-31, quoting Isaiah 42:1-4)
Though that passage may also have had a reference to Israel, the Servant whom God chose, in whom He was well pleased and upon whom He put His Spirit is the Lord Jesus (see Matthew 3:16-17). He was not a political agitator. He did not come as a rabble-rouser or one who stirs up treason. He did not get into shouting matches. He did not treat harshly those who were brokenhearted or fading into despair, the “bruised reeds” and “smoking flaxes.” He came for a larger purpose: to declare justice and set things right, not just for Israel, but for all the nations. He not only declared justice, He has been bringing it forth, and His cause will be victorious.

His conquest does not come by military combat or political maneuverings, but by the preaching of the gospel. Before He ascended to heaven, He declared that all authority in heaven and earth had been given to Him. Then He commissioned His disciples to go and “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18-19). This commission will not fail but be fulfilled, and justice shall come to all the nations through the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ.

The kingdom of Heaven on Earth does not come by political manipulation or military conquest, but by quiet revolution — the preaching of the gospel.



The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
Keys to the Kingdom of God
in the Gospel of Matthew

by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.