Friday, October 17, 2008

Violence and the Violent

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12

John emerged from the desert with a hard-edged message of repentance. The wild man's warnings echoed through the wilderness and bounced off the granite hearts of the Pharisaical. His announcement of Messiah's arrival ushered in a spiritually violent era. From that point on, few who entered Christ's kingdom did so unscathed. Kingdom people suffered unrelenting violence.

And the violent take it [the kingdom] by force. What does this phrase mean?

We know that Jesus is not suggesting that anyone -- in John's day or our day -- can force their way into God's kingdom or through might subdue it. But I am quite sure he is telling us that those engaged in advancing Christ's kingdom are possessed with a non-violent violence -- their advance may be resisted, but it will not be denied.

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