What is the Kingdom of Heaven like, really? Listening to preachers when I was growing up, I was under the impression that the Kingdom of Heaven was Heaven itself—that is was a city with streets of gold, where we dined on milk and honey, and spent all of our days looking up into the master’s face. There was a river there where we could get together with loved ones, renew old acquaintances, and shed copious tears when we embrace someone that we had not seen in so very long and had been worried about.
But, you know, Jesus’ disciples started out with a rather different view. They were looking for a messianic kingdom. They thought the Kingdom of Heaven would be Jesus leading a revolt and throwing out the Romans. We’re going to get a mob together, arm the people with swords, assault the Roman strongholds, and reestablish the Kingdom of David. Things would be like they were in the good old days.
But as the disciples listened to Jesus, they became a little confused about the Kingdom because when Jesus said,
The Kingdom of Heaven is like… the parable that followed did not fit their presuppositions—it was not what they expected at all. The funny thing is…it doesn’t fit ours either. We’ll begin in Matthew 19, with Jesus’ answer to question posed to him by a young, wealthy man:
Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?