Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lenten Devotional: Days Eleven and Twelve, Feb. 19th and 20th "Heaven Isn't too far Away"

Gospel Reading: Matthew 11-15
Devotional Emphasis: Matthew 13:33 “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount off flour until it worked all through the dough.”

These five chapters in Matthew cover quite a lot of material. We began reading about John’s followers asking Jesus to give John a sign about being the true messiah. Jesus talks about how great John is, but that those who believe his message are just as important, if not more so. Jesus is constantly defending himself and his followers throughout these five chapters. He walks on water and Peter falls in the lake. On two separate occasions Jesus is able to take a small amount of food and multiply it to feed 5,000 men plus woman and children on one occasion and 4,000 men plus women and children on another.

Fitted tightly in the midst of all this, we find Jesus taking time to teach his followers from a boat about the kingdom of heaven. He uses several parables to describe the kingdom: (1) The sower spreading seed (2) the weeds (3) the mustard seed (4) yeast (5) hidden treasure (6) the pearl (7) and the net. If we were to use these parables to show us different aspects of the kingdom of heaven we could say that the kingdom of heaven is not easily understood or comprehended, it is difficult now to tell who is in and who is out, it begins small, but will spread quickly, once it is discovered, and it is the most valuable thing we can possess.

My favorite description of the kingdom of heaven is to think of it as yeast working through the dough of the bread. It is just a small part in the beginning, but eventually spreads through the whole thing. I see the kingdom of heaven working that way now. Sometimes it seems that this world is falling apart, but then I can see God’s grace working around me, reminding me that God’s kingdom is a present reality. Like the 80’s song “Heaven isn’t too far away, it is closer every day” I believe God’s kingdom is spreading throughout our world slowly but surely. The question I must ask myself is: I am contributing to bringing God’s kingdom or am I working against it.

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