When Jesus walked the earth he preached to the people telling them to turn their lives around. He had good reason, God's Kingdom was coming close Matthew 4:17. Somehow I overlap thoughts of God's coming Kingdom with an imaginary picture of heaven. Maybe you imagine God's kingdom as a heavenly place too--you know, filled with
- puffy clouds to float on
- angels--who look like chubby babies in flossy diapers
- harps to strum
- heavenly choirs praising God
- you can add to this list
Some might say God can't come if things aren't perfect--but Jesus would likely disagree. He called for people to turn away from sin--the kingdom is coming. Even failed preparations won't prevent Jesus' coming. Past sins and shames don't stop him; turn away from the old sins and come to the light. Matthew says Jesus coming fulfilled the promise of an ancient prophet. He pointed to Isaiah wh o spoke on God's behalf when he said light would come for people in darkness Isaiah 9:1-2, Matthew 4:16-17. And He meant it. God's light is meant for those in darkness.
How close is God's Kingdom? If God's coming Kingdom isn't best envisioned as a far way heaven how can it be imagined. In all 4 Gospels Jesus, and the Kingdom of God that came as he came, were close enough to be sensed with eyes, ears, tongues, noses, and skin. This was no head trip--it was a flesh and blood experience of God coming in the middle of every detail of life. When Jesus called two fisherman Simon and Andrew to come and catch people like they'd caught fish He was inviting them to join in as the Kingdom came close by Matthew 4:19-20. Two other fishmen, Zebedee's boys James and John came along too.
That's how it started--so now comes our invitation to go fishing and come close to heaven.
Peace and thanks for reading, John