What is the Kingdom of Heaven like? Seeds and weeds, yeast, treasure, and fishing-nets! It is like a great treasure for which one abandons all else in order to gain. It is like the powerful potential of a tiny seed to grow into a large tree. It is like good fish and bad, both caught up in the same net, only to be sorted out in the end. It is like a forgiving king, a generous employer and a wedding feast.
Jesus used everyday experiences and simple parables to impart a sense of the Kingdom to those who had ears to hear. One has the sense that he was making up illustrations on the spot to help his hearers catch a vision for what living under God’s reign might be like. His stories are suggestive, evocative and some times puzzling—designed to conceal as much as reveal; to keep some of his hearers in the dark while leading others to understanding.
The Kingdom, Jesus says is not far from some (Mark 12:34, Luke, 10:9–11) and should be sought by all (Matt 6:33). We are to both pray for its coming (Matt 6:10) and to recognize it in our midst (Luke 17:21).
But how do we recognize the Kingdom? What does God’s reign look like today? Where do you see evidence of the rule of God growing among His people? Where do you long to see God’s reign more fully established? What examples you would point to as illustrations of what the Kingdom is like?
This year we will explore some contemporary parables of the Kingdom as we hear from campus community members and invited guests to complete the sentence: “the Kingdom is like . . .”
GW Carmer (June 2011)