Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Kingdom of Heaven - November 3, 2010

Matthew 13:33 (New Living Translation)
33 Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

In 2005, there was a very well acted movie directed by Ridley Scott that was widely released titled,The Kingdom of Heaven. The story is set during the Crusades of the 12th century. A French village blacksmith goes to aid the city of Jerusalem in its defense against the Muslim leader Saladin, who is battling to reclaim the city from the Christians. The film script is a heavily fictionalised portrayal of Balian of Ibelin.

What I found most interesting was that the movie sought to portray the city of Jerusalem at that time of uneasy peace as the kingdom of God. It meant to show that all of God's children, Christian, Muslim, and Jew could live together in peace and harmony together. As is the case in the movie, and real life as well, the lusts and corruption of the men within and outside the kingdom lead up to the fall of this "utopian" ideal and after a siege by Saladin, the city was given up to the Muslims.

In the Bible there are many references to the "Kingdom of Heaven" or the "Kingdom of God". It is a concept that can be hard to understand. We are used to a kingdom being a territory of land whose inhabitants are ruled by a single soveriegn ruler and those he has placed into authority. There have been many of these over the centuries of man's existence, both good and bad. But what is Jesus Christ talking about throughout the New Testament when he is talking about the Kingdom of Heaven?

In my next few postings we will look into what Jesus was trying to teach us by describing what the Kingdom of Heaven as he ministered to the people of his day. Jesus made a point many times to describe things in parable, stories depicting things familiar to his audience, so that the people who were meant to hear and understand the message, could easily do so. Tomorrow we will look at this parable, and we will take a look at other things he said about this very important topic.

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