Jesus announces that the kingdom of heaven is present. This is great to hear, but what do we do with John the Baptist being arrested? What do we do with Christ retreating to Galilee? The issue then: how can Christ say that the kingdom is present when the context of this chapter seems to contradict His message?
The Apostle Paul exhorts us to live a life to the Lord without stirring up controversy. Why would Paul say such things and what does Paul by living a peaceful and quiet life?
Peter and James greet the church in the dispersion. What is the dispersion? Why would they greet the church with such strange language? What can such language communicate about our Christian Sojourn?
The potential temptation we can have as Christians is to think that this kingdom is only spiritual and that there is nothing physical that our Lord provides. However, Christ makes this strange promise that as we pursue the kingdom of God there is the assurance that the Lord will provide for us. How does this work? Why not worry about the physical things when the the Kingdom is Spiritual?
Israel has a very unique mission to go and establish a heavenly kingdom on this earth. They have a unique calling to dominate a land, setup a place for God to dwell, and worship our God in the midst of the Canaanite land. One would think that Israel has this calling because they are a great people with a wonderful history. Does the Lord pick them because there is something special about them as a people? Or does the Lord pick them to make clear that there is something special about God?
When we ask our heavenly father to forgive us our debts we are also asking that we forgive our debtors meaning those who sin against us. The reality is that there is a cost involved with forgiveness and we might not always be willing to bear the cost of it. What is more, the bigger problem is that we might not think that we ourselves need that much forgiveness. So, what does the older brother or the older son tell us about forgiveness in the kingdom? Why does Christ tell us that this man had two sons?
When we talk about the Kingdom of God we normally associate the Kingdom of God as being something that is present here and now. So, if the Kingdom is present here and now then why would we ask the Lord for the Kingdom to come? The Lord will establish His kingdom despite any forces that may stand against it. So, what does it mean that we ask for the Lord’s kingdom to come?
Many times when we think of peace we think of things in our lives going well for us right now. However, this peace is still working out despite Christians who are tragically being martyred and it was working out when saints were martyred. How can we find peace in all circumstances of life? How do we find peace when we are among the nations in a dispersion and living in terms similar to Jeremiah 29 rather than the book of Joshua? Where is our peace ultimately?
When we face the trials of life we want a strong leader to tell us what to do. If we are honest we really want the leader to tell us that it is all going to be okay. You cannot find a better or stronger leader than God God as He is the one who made us and knows us. So, you would think that Christ would tell His disciples that it is all going to be okay when they enter Jerusalem. Well, this is not what Christ does at all. Why does Christ give such a strange pep talk prior to their entrance into Jerusalem?
So often we use the law of God to find loopholes and technicalities. I think that many times we like the letter of the law because it narrows the sharpness of its requirement. But, how do we order our lives by the law of God when it seems contradictory? For instance Christ gives permission for divorce if there is an adulterous relationship. The Apostle Paul allows for divorce if the unbeliever cannot live with the believer. Yet, Christ states that, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” How do we reconcile these teachings on divorce and order our lives when they seem to contradict one another?