Speaker: Jerry Cisar
If you were to fill in the blank, “The kingdom of heaven is _______,” with a simile, what would you fill it with? Glorious? Problem-free? Filled with pure joy? You’d have some biblical support for those answers. Jesus gives us six parables that begin with, “The kingdom of heaven is like…”. The parables that follow that refrain are unexpected. Some of them don’t sound so heavenly.
Donald Kraybill, in his seminal book, The Upside-Down Kingdom, writes, “The kingdom of God announced by Jesus appeared odd and utterly upside down in first-century Palestinian culture. And the upside-down surprises of God’s kingdom continue to startle people as it breaks into diverse cultures today.” In other words, after doing the work of understanding the parables in their culture, their meaning will still seem odd to us!
On one level, these parables are easy to understand. But on another, it is much more difficult to be satisfied with what they say. We want it to be another way.
Join us in worship as we explore the parables of the unexpected heavenly kingdom in Matthew 13:24-52.