The Scripture for today is Matthew 4: 17-25 (NIV) 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
“…the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Heaven? Here? Now? I don’t have to wait until I leave this earth to experience the kingdom of heaven? I can live each day in the kingdom, a daughter of the King, Jesus Christ. Redeemed, set apart, precious in HIS sight. A daughter who will inherit the riches of eternal life.
Last Saturday, I enjoyed the company of Phil Weaver’s grandson Max during lunch with my family and Phil’s. As we waited for our meal, Max sat in my lap and snuggled up. It was lovely, cradling this tiny little boy – so precious and beloved. He was so trusting and assured of his welcome into my arms. As I remember this experience, I am reminded that in our Father’s kingdom – we are those little children. So dearly beloved that we can snuggle into our Father’s waiting arms for comfort, peace, love, and protection. We don’t have to wait for someday to come – the kingdom of heaven has come near. We can trust him and be assured of our welcome into his arms. But what of those who don’t know the love of the Father, who don’t know the joy and peace that comes from living in the kingdom of heaven? Who don’t know that there are loving arms awaiting them? Who haven’t experienced HIS peace, grace, presence, comfort, compassion? What of THEM?
Sunday, Pastor talked of “joining up” – surrendering to Jesus’ command to “come here” and “follow me”. He talked to us about following Jesus so closely that the dust of his sandals would be on our shoes. If I follow Jesus command to “come here”, then the kingdom of heaven will come near. Near to ME. If I reach out to others and help them connect to Jesus, the kingdom of heaven will come near to THEM.
Lord Jesus, I want dusty shoes. Not just dusty, but CAKED with layers of dust – accumulated over a long and faithful walk following right behind you. I want to be like the Charlie Brown character “Pigpen” – leaving a dusty cloud all around me. When people see me, I want them to see YOU! Help me, Lord Jesus – I want to “join-up”. Give me ears to listen, eyes to see and the will to do the work that you call me to. Amen!