What Jesus Did! 'Forceful Kingdom' — Matthew 11:12

Sunday, May 21, 2017

"Since the time John the Baptizer came until now, the kingdom of heaven has been going forward strongly. People using force have been trying to get the kingdom."
— Matthew 11:12
Illustration of Matthew 11:12 — "Since the time John the Baptizer came until now, the kingdom of heaven has been going forward strongly. People using force have been trying to get the kingdom."

Key Thought

The Kingdom of God is powerful. But it has been, and will continue to be, under the attack of violent men. John is a great reminder of this. The power of his message, the power of God's truth, the power of proclaiming the nearness of the Kingdom led to conflict and death for John. Jesus warns his disciples that they will face similar challenges. But the Kingdom will advance because the power behind it is much stronger than the forces which oppose it. Jesus' warning is clear. If they gave John a hard time because he spoke with power of the coming Kingdom, what do you think they will do to us who live in the power of the Kingdom? We, too, must realize that we have a war on our hands, and, like John, proceed faithfully toward God's goal for us and not our own, realizing that if we are a part of God's Kingdom, we will be victorious.

Today's Prayer

Righteous and Almighty God, please give your servants boldness, courage and conviction today as we seek to share the word of your grace with those who are caught in darkness. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Jesus finished telling these things to his twelve followers. Then Jesus left there and went to the towns in Galilee to teach the people and tell them {about God}. John the Baptizer was in prison. He heard about the things Christ was doing. So John sent some of his followers to Jesus. John's followers asked Jesus, "Are you the man that {John said} was coming, or should we wait for another man?" Jesus answered, "Go back to John and tell him about the things that you hear and see: Blind people are able to see again; crippled people are able to walk again; people that have leprosy are healed; deaf people can hear again; dead people are raised from death; and the Good News is told to the poor people. The person that can accept me is blessed." While John's followers were leaving, Jesus began talking to the people about John. Jesus said, "What did you people go out to the desert to see? A weed blown by the wind? No! Really, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No! Those people that wear fine clothes live in king's palaces. So what did you go out to see? A prophet ? Yes, and I tell you, John is more than a prophet. This Scripture was written about John: 'Listen! I (God) will send my helper ahead of you. He will prepare the way for you.' I tell you the truth: John the Baptizer is greater than any man that has ever lived. But even the least important person in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John. Since the time John the Baptizer came until now, the kingdom of heaven has been going forward strongly. People using force have been trying to get the kingdom. All the prophets and the law {of Moses} spoke until the time John came. They told about the things that would happen. And if you will believe the things the law and the prophets said, then you will believe that John is Elijah. The law and the prophets said he would come. You people that hear me, listen! "What can I say about the people that live today? What are they like? The people today are likechildren sitting in the market place. One group of children calls to the other group, 'We played flute music for you, but you did not dance; we sang a sad song, but you were not sad.' {Why do I say people are like that?} Because John came, and he did not eat {like other people} or drink wine. And people say, 'He has a demon inside him.' The Son of Man came eating {like other people} and drinking wine, and people say, 'Look at him! He eats too much and drinks too much wine. He is a friend of tax collectors and other bad people.' But wisdom is shown to be right by the things it does."

Matthew 11:1-19

Related Scripture Readings

Paul and Barnabas told the Good News in the city of Derbe too. Many people became followers {of Jesus}. Paul and Barnabas returned to the cities of Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. In those cities Paul and Barnabas made the followers {of Jesus} stronger. They helped them to stay in the faith. Paul and Barnabas said, "We must suffer many things on our way into God's kingdom."

Acts 14:21-22

But Philip told the people the Good News about the kingdom of God and the power of Jesus Christ. Men and women believed Philip. They were baptized.

Acts 8:12

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.