From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it.
Jesus told the followers of John the Baptist, From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it. In Greek, “forcefully advancing” can be taken as active or passive. In the passive sense, it refers to “suffering violent attacks.” This means that violent people were attacking the kingdom. This is certainly true. However, in the active sense, it would mean that people were actively advancing the kingdom of God. The idea here is that the Church has been in a war throughout the centuries. Opposing forces have sought to destroy the Church, or at least to limit the advancement of the message of the gospel.
Today, some people point to the seemingly intolerant stance that Christians have taken, that of believing that the only way to enter God’s kingdom is by believing in Jesus Christ and receiving Him into your life. Increasingly, there is a greater emphasis on and acceptance of other religions. Jesus tells us, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
(John 14:6) As a body of believers, we have the advantage of living on this side of the cross, knowing that Jesus Christ, the Son of David, came to bring salvation. The church must stand firm in this truth and continue to advance the kingdom of God forcefully.
Have you found yourself in situations with people who find Christians intolerant? Do you find yourself defensive of your faith rather than being on the offense? As you live your life for Jesus, there will always be people who do not wish to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father; however, He clearly said: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) Opposing forces have tried to limit and even extinguish the message of the kingdom, but the message and the Church have prevailed. The King of the kingdom will return some day, and His question will be: …when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?
(Luke 18:8) As we advance the good news of Jesus Christ and His kingdom, we exhibit genuine faith that will stand the test of time.
I have been frustrated and discouraged at times as I attempt to share my faith. It is so difficult to be rejected because of my faith. Give me courage to stand up for what I know is true in Your Word, coupled with conviction to stay the course. When You return, I truly want You to see in me the genuine faith that You deserve.
In Jesus’ name, Amen