“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like…” (Matthew 25:1 NIV84)
On Saturday, Jesus honors the Sabbath day. On Sunday, He triumphantly enters Jerusalem as King of all. On Monday, Jesus physically cleanses the temple. On Tuesday, He spiritually cleanses the temple by silencing the religious leaders of His day with biblical truth. And today (Wednesday), it seems as though Jesus finally gets the opportunity to teach. There are no challenges. There are no arguments. Jesus spends the day teaching His disciples and others who want to hear the teaching of the Master. So, a day or so from His arrest, what does Jesus focus His teaching on? The kingdom of God (heaven). John the Baptist began his ministry proclaiming that “the kingdom of God was at hand.” Jesus and His disciples began their ministry with the same focus on the kingdom of God. And now, as Jesus is provided one last time to speak to the people freely, He speaks about the Kingdom of God.
Matthew records 3 parables. The parable of the 10 virgins (5 foolish and 5 wise); the parable of the talents (2 put their talents to work while one buried his); and the parable of the sheep and the goats (where the sheep go to heaven for doing good and the goats go to hell for not doing good). In each parable Jesus is making sure that everyone understands that life has an accounting, and that accounting is to our Creator. The first parable warns us that although we may all look alike on the outside, if we are going to be welcomed into the wedding banquet we need to have oil (faith) in our lamps in order to get to and get in the celebration. The second parable tells us that each of us has been given gifts and talents that the Lord expects us to use, not just for our livelihood here on this earth, but for the growth of the kingdom. We all will be held accountable for whether we used those gifts and talents to the honor and glory of the one who gave them to us. The third parable takes us to judgment day itself. Jesus returns to the world He redeemed and saved and now requires all humanity to account for the life they lived on earth. The determining factor is simple. Did you do your works on earth from a basis of faith in Him so that when he judges the motives of your life actions He is able to see that faith in Him was at the center of them or not.
The key to Wednesday’s message is that our faith, hope, life decisions and eternal direction had better be focused on the kingdom of God. At the beginning of time God created. In the course of time God redeemed. In the close of time God will judge the living and the dead. The basis for all three stages of history is the kingdom of God. Today and every day, we need to close our eyes and see that there is a reality truer than the one we can feel, smell and taste today. God’s kingdom is the only kingdom that was, is and will be for all eternity. So let us seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and live lives on this earth with hearts destined for the kingdom to come.