The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

Promised Lands - Life, Hope & Truth

In the middle of a story about healing, Jesus inserts an unexpected comment. Matthew 8: 11 I say to you that many Gentiles will come from east and west, and will sit down to feast at the table, and enjoy God’s promises with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven because they accepted Me as Savior, 12 while the sons and heirs of the kingdom, the descendants of Abraham who will not recognize Me as Messiah, will be thrown out into the outer darkness; in that place which is farthest removed from the kingdom. There will be weeping in sorrow and pain and grinding of teeth in distress and anger. [1]

People were watching Jesus. How would this Jew interact with a pagan Roman Centurion? The Jews considered themselves part of God’s kingdom because of their lineage. But here Jesus redefines who is a part of the kingdom, or rule and reign, of God. Those that believe in Jesus as the Messiah will inherit the promise of God’s kingdom. At that time if a Jew were to sit and eat with a Gentile, he would have been considered defiled. Yet, Jesus sees a time when the patriarchs of the Jewish faith would sit down with Gentiles as fellow guests. To add injury to insult, then Jesus says that the Jews who refuse to recognize Him as Messiah will be sent as far as possible from God’s kingdom.

As Jesus heals a Gentile servant, He is showing that God’s kingdom is for all people, not just the Jews. We become a part of that kingdom by faith in Jesus the Messiah. When we believe in Jesus, we begin to inherit the promises of God’s kingdom. There are many promises, here a just a few:

Deut. 31: Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.[2]

Isaiah 41: 10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.[3]

1 John 1:But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.[4]

Philippians 4:Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.[5]

We not only begin to experience the kingdom of God when we believe but we have hope for an eternal future. We may live on the earth, but this is not our eternal home as believers. One day we will sit down in heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What a day that will be! Does that get you excited? Does that give you hope in a world that can be harsh?

The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 2:9 it is so wonderful we can’t even imagine how amazing it is. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” [6]

Here are a couple verses about heaven:

Philippians 3:20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.[7]

John 14:There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?[8]

Jesus’ seemly odd comment has great depth and meaning for us today. We don’t enter God’s kingdom through our lineage, or our parent’s faith, or rituals of the church. We simply need to trust in Jesus as our Savior.

To hear more about the healing of the Centurion’s servant, listen here:

[1] Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. 

[2-8] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.

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