Everything is in place. Matthew has revealed his genealogy; the birth story; John the Baptist has been introduced as the forerunner; Jesus is baptised and anointed for ministry; tested and proved by overcoming Satan in the wilderness; John is now side-lined; and through it all we see prophecy being fulfilled. So in just a few words with no pomp and ceremony nor with the millions of people in the world watching through every media possible, Matthew has his own inauguration of Jesus’ ministry:
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4 v 17)
From that time on …
Do you remember that moment when it could be said of you, ’From that time on …?’
Perhaps it was a painful time in your life? Maybe you were rejected in Nazareth your home town? Maybe you had to leave people and a certain place? From that time on …
Maybe you wake today and you have to make the announcement, ‘From now on…’ Perhaps the opportunity is in front of you and you need to grasp this moment with courage? This is your inauguration moment and you have to take it.
Jesus began to preach, “Repent …
It is the same message as the forerunner, repent. The word is metanoeo made up of 2 words: meta meaning move and noeo meaning your mind and thoughts. Often you will have heard preachers call for a change of behaviour and then give the list of things that need changing. This is only the outcome of what repentance is. The truth is we need to continually move our thoughts so that we do not get stuck and then trapped. Do your thoughts free you or suppress you? Move them! Pause right now and ask yourself whether most often than not you fall into the same negative thinking about you, others, situations. Move that thinking. Repent! This is your inauguration moment and you need to move your thinking.
For the kingdom of heaven has come near
The Jews were waiting for the kingdom. Will they be satisfied when it comes? We are going to read of how Jesus describes the kingdom. Will they be for him or against him? We have read the book. In the end they are disappointed because Jesus hung on to His appointment. For the kingdom they were wanting isn’t the kingdom of heaven.
The rule of Christ, the sphere of His activity, the realm and presence of God, the Kingdom, only has citizens who have moved their thinking to be like Jesus.
We will read Matthew’s record of Jesus’ parables of the kingdom. The mustard seed and the yeast; the hidden treasure and the pearl; the net; the unmerciful servant; the workers in the vineyard; the wedding banquet; there are more and they all end up with the greatest demonstration of the kingdom, which is of course the cross.
If your life on earth is about you then you will not come into the Kingdom, so move your thinking.
You may be religious but if your faith is about you becoming someone then forget it, you will not come into the Kingdom, so move your thinking.
If your focus is not to serve and to help but to get and to gain because you are not thankful for what you have received then forget it, you will not come into the Kingdom, so move your thinking.
Others may think you are in the Kingdom because of your personality, charisma or title but forget it, you will not come into the Kingdom, so move your thinking.
You cannot grab what you think you deserve and hold the hand of a God who is generous.
You cannot use people and expect God to use you.
You cannot be full of yourself and be full of God.
There’s no place for selfishness in the kingdom.
How do you get in? The cross.
The kingdom is the orientation of life, how you see things, the way you speak and yes how you act. I have come to discover that there is no other way than through the shadow of the cross.
Move your thinking and step into this kingdom, your inauguration has begun.