Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Kingdom Which Seeks Us

In Matthew's Gospel, the account which focused on Christ Jesus as King of the Jesus, our Savior declares to His disciples:

32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6: 32-33)

For a long time, this passage used to cause me great confusion.

If I seek His Kingdom, who will take care of everything else?

Incidentally enough, Jesus answers this question:

"25Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?"

"Take no thought for your life", Jesus says.

How is this possible??

We need to accept a harsh truth first.

Man on his own does not have life to begin with.

He is born dead in his trespasses, all because of Adam's fall!

"12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come." (Romans 5: 12-14)

God was not mincing words when He warned His beloved creation about the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: "The day that you eat from that tree, you shall surely die."

We don't have to worry about our life, when we realize that Jesus came to give us life, and that more abundantly (John 10:10)

Notice in Matthew 6:26, Jesus points out that God the Father--our Daddy God!--feeds the bird of the air. Aren't we worth more? Yes, and there is a clear reason why:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

God values us so much, that He gave His Son for us!

So, we can rest assured that He will take care of us.

The Gospel affirms how much Our Good Shepherd loves us:

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)

So, what's going on? In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells the disciples to seek the Kingdom.

But in Luke, Jesus says God the Father wants to give us the Kingdom

Keep in the mind the audiences to whom Jesus is addressing Himself.

The disciples saw Jesus as a pattern to follow, a mentor to mind.

Jesus did not come to be an example. He came to be our Savior:

"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45)

Consider what Jesus did right after His Sermon on the Mount:

1When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. (Matthew 8:1-4)

Jesus was willing and able to heal this leper. Amazing! The Kingdom of Heaven came down to all of us, to save us from our sins, to heal us from our diseases, and to cause us to reign in life (Romans 5:17)

Indeed, Paul identifies the Kingdom of Heaven for us:

"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Romans 14:17)

This righteousness is a gift, and we do not seek it!

We now receive it, because of Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension at the right hand of His Father, and our Father!

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)" (Romans 5:17)

So, the righteousness that Jesus urges us to seek in the Gospel of Matthew is now ours for receiving as a gift, one which we keep receiving, especially when we fail, when we fall, and when we falter.

This wonderful gift of everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:23) enacts God's new and wonderful Covenant with us:

"10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

"11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

"12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:10-12)

Now, let's go back to "Seek you first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness ..."

Notice that under the New Covenant, as outlined in Hebrews 8. our Daddy God will be a God to us! He will guide us and care for us. Why? Because He will not remember, no longer recall our sins ever again!

That's called "righteousness." When we believe in Jesus, and we accept His gift of righteousness, we are allowing God our Father to protect us, to provide us, to grant us all things:

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32)

I know that this post is an extended commentary on the goodness and grace of God, but I cannot help but share and report. So, when we understand that our Daddy God has our backs, that He us covered before and after, we have the answer to the rhetorical questions which Jesus asked on behalf of the disciples in Matthew 6.

Thank you, Jesus, for being my sacrifice. Thank you, Jesus, for becoming sin, that I might be  made the righteousness of God in you! (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Thank you Jesus for fulfilling the Old Covenant and bringing me into a New Covenant with your Father ... and with Mine!

AMEN! I am so happy, so blessed to be a citizen of the New Kingdom! (Ephesians 2:19)

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