Jesus has been announcing and demonstrating the message of the kingdom: “God is God, Jesus is Lord, the power of evil has been defeated, God’s new world has begun…. All people everywhere are invited to come in, to join the party, to discover forgiveness for the past, an astonishing destiny in God’s future, and a vocation for the present.” (N.T. Wright)
Last week we saw that Jesus designated a new people of God and has begun to instruct and train them in representing the Kingdom of God. In these chapters we begin to see what it means that “the Father has chosen to give you the kingdom.” There is a lot of material here - we can sum it up in three pictures:
The Persistent Friend (11:1-23)
Jesus is entrusting his followers with his own authority. Jesus acted in loyalty to the Father – therefore the Father entrusted him with all power and authority. He gives His followers His Spirit – so that they too can be the Father’s representatives, doorways and windows for his love, blessing and provision to break into this world. The kingdom comes through those who say yes to the King, who welcome his rule. Jesus is the “stronger man” who breaks into the “strong man’s” realm and sets his captives free. In prayer we are given the same responsibility and authority.
The Lighted Lamp (11:24- 12:3)
“Something greater” than the miracle of Jonah or the wisdom of Solomon is here, Jesus says. It is something much more radical. Representing the reign of God isn’t just a matter of conforming on the outside - washing the outside of the cup - but of radical transformation from within. It’s no good just to send the demons out – the Spirit of God must be at home in the house.
The Wise Manager (12:4-48)
It is the owner’s job to give the steward the authority he needs to represent the owner, and also to provide for whatever the steward needs to do his job. The steward’s job is to represent the interests of the manager – not his own interests. God entrusted his plan for the rescue of the world he created to his Son – the Son has entrusted it to his people. It is a serious responsibility.
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