Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kingdom of Heaven: The Preparation - November 4, 2010

Matthew 3:1-3 (New International Reader's Version)
1 In those days John the Baptist came and preached in the Desert of Judea. 2 He said, "Turn away from your sins! The kingdom of heaven is near."

3 John is the one the prophet Isaiah had spoken about. He had said," A messenger is calling out in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord. Make straight paths for him.' " —(Isaiah 40:3)

Whenever a king is about to coronated into his kingdom, preparations are made for his arrival. In the way of the world, the arrival of a king is met with much anticipation, "pomp and circumstance". The finest in all the kingdom is layed out for the coming king. Nothing is spared because it all belongs to the king. The subjects and vassals of the kingdom are expected to pay homage and pledge loyalty to the new king.

The arrival of our heavenly king Jesus into his kingdom was not met in the same way. Probably because Jesus was not arriving on the scene to be an earthly king, as the Jews were expecting. For centuries the Jewish people were waiting for the expected Messiah, the king who would help them overcome the nations that had been oppressing them. They had misinterpreted the meaning behind the prophecies their Scriptures.

But this was not to be the case with Jesus. He was arriving onto the earthly scene to show the people here on earth the Kingdom of Heaven, a kingdom that far different than any earthly kingdom. This was to be a spiritual kingdom and he was the arriving king. This was a new kingdom that only those that had paid homage and pledged loyalty to the king, through repentance and belief in the Savior and Lord Jesus Christ could hope to become a subject.

For the arrival of the most important King to all mankind there would be no pomp and circumstance; no homage and loyalty would be pledged. Just the simple shouts of a messenger calling out into the desert for mankind to "turn away from their sins" and prepare their hearts to hear the message from the King. King Jesus would arrive on the scene in a simple stable, in a backward little town, and after 30 years, his cousin John would greet him and step aside for the "lamb of God that would take away the sins of the world".

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