Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The Book of Matthew. Matthew 9: 35-38, “Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. Jesus was moved with pity, because the people were abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples: ‘The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.'” This Q saying is imperfectly related to this context. It presupposes that only God (the master of the harvest) can take the initiative in sending out preachers of the gospel, whereas in Matthew’s setting it leads into Matthew 10, where Jesus does so…………………………….. Matthew 5-7, Jesus sent out the Twelve after instructing them thus: “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” This instruction may reflect an original Jewish-Christian refusal of the mission to the Gentiles, but for Matthew it expresses rather the limitation that Jesus himself observed during his ministry………. Matthew 12:27-28, Jesus was accused of driving out demons by colluding with Beelzebul, the prince of demons. So Jesus said: “If Satan drives out Satan, he will be divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Besides pointing out the absurdity of the accusation, Jesus asks how the work of Jewish exorcists (your own people) is to be interpreted. Are they, too, to be charged with colluding with Beelzebul?…………… Matthew 12: 49-50, Jesus was speaking to a crowd and someone told him his family arrived and wanted to talk with him. But Jesus, stretching out his hand toward his disciples, said: “Here are my mother and brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother and sister and mother.” Blood kinship means nothing to Jesus, but those who do the will of his Father in heaven mean everything to him…. Matthew 13:10, The disciples approached him and said: “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He said to them in reply: “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.” (Jesus is referring to the crowds, who seem to be deaf and blind.) This knowledge means recognition that the kingdom has become present in the ministry of Jesus. Since a parable is figurative speech that demands reflection for understanding, only those who are prepared to explore its meaning can come to know it. To understand is a gift of God, granted to the disciples but not to the crowds………………………………….. Matthew 13:31, Jesus proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky come to dwell in its branches.'” This parable illustrates the amazing contrast between the small beginnings of the kingdom and its marvelous expansion. The Church became the state religion in a relatively short time. (All the commentary comes from the Catholic Study Bible, NABRE)

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