Why Does Jesus Speak of the Kingdom of God?
What if I told you this morning that this sermon isn’t about you. Would you still listen? Often we look for the application in the text to find out how you can be whole, or happy, or faithful or understand your family better, have a better marriage, or gain perspective on your career. There is nothing wrong with those messages as the Bible indeed speaks to all of them. But this morning, the message isn’t about you. Are you still interested? It’s a message of parables. Is that an invitation to tune out?
If you were here last week, and listening, then you might remember that this is actually the reason Jesus taught in parables. Parables can be easy to tune it. Why? Parables require an investment of time an energy to draw out meaning. The question you have to ask is this: is it worth investing that time and energy? Is the person telling these parables, worth listening to?
So again, let me ask: Will you still listen if this message isn’t about you? Do you have ears to hear?
The parables are about the kingdom of God and how it grows. There is no advice on a better marriage in such a message. Nor is there advice on parenting or self-esteem or career planning. So if your hope rests in any of those things, you can tune out these parables. But if your hope rests on the coming of this kingdom, then listen.
In the first century when Jesus spoke these parables, the great hope for the Jews was the restoration of their Kingdom, so the parables of the Kingdom would have been enticing to the listener. The good news about the Kingdom of God is that it brings with it an end to oppression and a time of flourishing. In light of that, hope in the Kingdom of God encompasses all of those other things we are so eager to have: good marriages, fulfilling careers, healed families, etc. What Jesus is announcing it not merely help to live in the midst of the corrupt kingdom, but the ushering in of a new Kingdom altogether.
So how do we understand this Kingdom?