Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Kingdom of Heaven

“The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
(Matthew 3:2)

Distinctive to the Gospel of Matthew as we have seen is the idea that Jesus is King. Similarly, it Matthew carries the theme of kings and kingdoms throughout his whole Gospel. Matthew inserts the idea of a king or a kingdom in a number of his stories, accounts and parables, whereas Luke never mentions such terminology, even when telling the exact same account or parable. Luke always say a “certain man” or something of the like, but not so with Matthew, he wants us to see, feel, and hear the kingdom echo on every page. Whereas the other Gospels use the phrase “kingdom of God,” Matthew uses the “kingdom of heaven.” This is a peculiar expression unique to Matthew occurs nearly thirty times throughout his Gospel. Matthew also pays special attention to the characteristics and the attributes of the participants of this kingdom, among which “righteousness” is specially named, this too is distinctive to Matthew’s account.

Portraits of Jesus        

As you read through the interactions and parables found in Matthew, take special not to the usage of words like “king,” “kingdom,” and “the kingdom of heaven.”

In the places where Mark and Luke use the phrase “kingdom of God,” Matthew uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven.” Furthermore, does also use the “phrase “kingdom of God,” but only four times. Whereas, he uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven” thirty-two times. What do you suppose this is? For Matthew, what’s the difference between the two?

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