The Kingdom is here!

Evening Reading for October 14th Matthew 10:24-33

I have a parallel Bible with the NIV text and The Message text side by side. It was given to me by the Elders at Upper Umgeni Presbyterian Church in Howick, South Africa in February 2005 to mark the 10th anniversary of my ministry there. I love to read both texts in my devotions. Eugene Peterson’s The Message often gives a deeper insight into the familiar NIV text, particularly when it seems confusing.

Tonight’s reading is a case in point. Jesus is giving instructions to the Twelve as He sends them out to “Tell that the kingdom is here. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and drive out the demons.” And He gives them some idea of what to expect when they go.

“They will open their arms, they will listen intently, they will believe you and welcome you into their homes.”    Uh-uh. You’ll be rejected, betrayed and persecuted. So, no worries, mate, you just go do the stuff.

Now watch how the two versions pick it up at verse 24.

NIV  “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!”

MESSAGE  “A student doesn’t get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn’t make more money than his boss. Be content -pleased, even- when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get. If they call me, the Master, ‘Dungface,’ what can the workers expect?”

Its going to be tough for you guys but realise this, it is tough for me first… Jesus does not ask us to go where He has not gone, to do what He has not done, to face a struggle which He has not faced. We are His followers -that means we follow -we go where He has already been. Yes, its full of struggles and daily cross bearing (that’s the worldly stuff), but its also filled with the amazing things of the Kingdom – Healing the sick, raising the dead, touching the untouchables and kicking out the demons.

NIV  “So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

MESSAGE  “Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now. Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life -body and soul- in His hands.”

I love it!!!! Everything is going to be out in the open as the Kingdom is revealed. Everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now. Live your life as a citizen of God’s Kingdom – He holds your entire life in His hands and what was promised to Jesus is promised to you as you follow Him through this dull, drab and boring world. Its Kingdom now, see the light not the shadow. Rise up, rather than slink along the fringe of existence. The Kingdom is here! See things as they really are. Oh man, that is so good!

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