Life = Kingdom of Heaven

The central theme and message of Jesus (and the Bible) is, like it was written in the Gospel of Mathews chapter 5, we must accept our dependence on God (poor in spirit), allow ourselves to be weak (blessed are those who mourn), be simple and humble (blessed are the meek), treat others with respect and fairness (blessed are those who hunger for righteousness),  have compassion (blessed are the merciful),  forgive (blessed are the pure in heart), resolve conflicts (blessed are the peacemakers), fight for justice in spite of the opposition of the unjust (blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness), and continue to follow the teachings of Jesus in spite of what this world says about you (blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, lying about you, for my sake).

Jesus wants us to serve others in a selfless way, not so that people think highly of us, but so that God can think highly of us and He is glorified.  This is why Jesus continued his journey teaching to “love your enemies” (Mt 5:44), “always be honest without having to swear” (Mt 5:33), “walk the extra miles for others, even if they are mean to you” (Mt 5: 38-42).  These are not easy things to do, but are essential for experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven. This is also why Jesus taught us not to worry about earthly things (Mt. 6:25), and don’t judge others (Mt 7 1-6), so that we keep focused on the heavenly things which is to love others unconditionally (as it is done in heaven; Mt 6: 10). All of these teachings are a reflection of the main message found in Mathews chapter 5, commonly known as the Beatitudes. This is why Jesus said to the pharisees in Mathew 22: 37-40, “‘You shall love God with all your heart…and You shall love your neighbor as yourself’, On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets’”.

 But Jesus realized this was not an easy thing to do, which is why he named it the “narrow path” (Mt. 7:13) which leads you to the Life, but if we do not live the Life (not “this way of life” but the only true “Life” of serving others), Jesus will not accept us in His Kingdom (Mt. 7:21, Mt. 25:31-46).  This might sound crude to those who resist serving others unconditionally.  Jesus also expressed how difficult living the Kingdom of Heaven is by inviting us to go to Him when we are tired, because the Life (Kingdom of Heaven) that he is inviting us to live requires sacrifice because we have to stop serving ourselves like this world demands us to do, and we might get tired of trying to continue to serve others when the rest of the world, and our human nature, tells us to do otherwise.  This is when we should rely on Jesus by praying and fasting, so that He can restore our strength and continue to live the Kingdom of Heaven. This is also why Jesus gives us the Parables of the Virgins, which teaches us about being consistent in living the Kingdom of Heaven until the end (Mt. 25: 1-13).  But it is imperative to accept the difficulty of living the Life (Kingdom of Heaven), which Jesus also urged by saying “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself (earthly and selfish life), and take up his cross (the sacrifice of letting go of selfish ways), and follow Me”, and then “for whoever loses his life (selfish life) , will find it (the real Life)”.

Isn’t this clear to you as it is to me?  Don’t you realize what Jesus is really inviting us to do?  It is not merely going to a church, singing songs, tithing, fasting, and saying grace.  The Prophet Isaiah said it in chapter 58 when he wrote “They ask me (God speaking) why have we fasted and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls and You take no notice?”…Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to undo the heavy burdens (help others in need), to let the oppressed go free (fight for justice) and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, bring to your house the poor, when you see the naked, that you cover him ..then your light shall break forth like the morning (you will live the Life)”.


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