Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Kingdom of the Committed, Not the Curious

While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”

But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)
The scribes and Pharisees witnessed Jesus healing sicknesses and casting out demons. When they objected because He did these things even on the Sabbath, He firmly rebuked them as a “brood of vipers” who spoke evil words because their hearts were evil. But some of them answered, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” They were not talking about the miraculous works He had already performed. They wanted a special sign from heaven just for them, a command performance to confirm to them His authority. Jesus told them,
An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. (Matthew 12:39-42)
Jonah was like Jesus in that he spent three days and nights in the belly of the great fish just as Jesus would be in the heart of the earth for three days and nights. But it was the message of Jonah that caused the men of Nineveh to repent. Likewise, it was the wisdom of Solomon that caused her to believe God (1 Kings 10:1-9). But someone greater than Jonah and Solomon was now on the scene, and if the scribes and Pharisees were not receptive to His message, they probably would not believe His sign either.

In another place, Jesus said, “My doctrine is not Mine but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7:17). It is not about signs for the curious but about commitment to do God’s will. In other words, it is about faith, for without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). When asked, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:28-29).

If the scribes and Pharisees did not believe in Jesus for who He was and the message He brought, nothing else mattered, no matter how many healings and how many exorcisms He performed. Indeed, the end result would be even worse for them, as Jesus showed them next.
When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, “I will return to my house from which I came.” And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation. (Matthew 12:43-45)
This would be their lot if they refused to believe in Him and let their house be filled with the truth about the kingdom of God.

It was while He was still addressing them that His mother and brothers came, desiring to speak with Him. When informed of this, He said, “Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?” Then He answered His own question. He pointed to His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

The condition of the idly curious will go from bad to worse, and the judgment upon them will be all the greater because of their persistent unbelief. But the disciples of Jesus, who believe on Him, commit themselves to Him and learn from Him, He will embrace as intimate family.

Whoever does the will of the Father is the brother or sister of Jesus, for His kingdom is all about the will of the Father being done on earth as it is in heaven, and the will of the Father is to believe on the Son.
He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (John 3:18-21)
The kingdom of Heaven on Earth is not for the curious but for those who have made the commitment of faith in the King.



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.