Seeing the Kingdom in This World


But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.  (Luke 9:11)

In the above Gospel passage Christ words about the Kingdom are not recorded. The pericope only tells us He taught about the Kingdom without telling us what He said about it.  Elsewhere in the Gospels, He speaks about the Kingdom in parables. For example, look at Matthew 13:24-50 – in 27 verses Christ compares the Kingdom to six common things: a man sowing seed in a field, a grain of mustard seed, leaven mixed in flour, a hidden treasure, a merchant in search of pearls and a fishing net.


In those same 27 verses in also says the righteous in the Kingdom will shine like the sun. To understand His similes and parables of the Kingdom, we have to use our imagination – for the wonderful Kingdom is compared to familiar things, and yet remains mysteriously strange to us. Christ doesn’t tell us exactly how the Kingdom is like these things, but wants us to use our creative imagination to dig deeply into these comparisons to uncover the truth hidden there awaiting our discovery to reveal glimpses of God’s Kingdom. Christ doesn’t dogmatize what the Kingdom of Heaven, nor does He give us a detailed description of it. He leaves it up to us to imagine what God’s Kingdom is.


St Nikolai Velimirovic comments:

“The Lord Jesus Christ Himself often made use of parables from nature – things and happenings from this world – as aids to teach men.  And He often took ordinary things and occurrences in His teaching, to show the nourishment these kernels give, and how deep are the things that are hidden within them.  Ordinary people seek some meaning in strange and rare events, like shooting stars, earthquakes, great wars and so forth, but rare are those who seek and find a spiritual meaning in the ordinary, in the most common daily happenings.  The rarest among all the rare who have ever walked the earth, the Lord Jesus Himself, deliberately took the most ordinary things from this life in order to reveal to men the mysteries of eternal life.


What is more ordinary than salt, yeast, a tree growing from a mustard seed, the sun, sparrows, grass and wild lilies, wheat and tares, rock and sand?  None of those who look every day at these things with their eyes alone could imagine seeking in them the hidden mysteries of the Kingdom of God.  But Christ paused by just such objects and called men’s attention to them, revealing immeasurable heavenly mysteries hidden under their outward form.  In the same way, the Lord made use of simple, ordinary occurrences to present and explain the whole of man’s spiritual life, the whole history of man’s fall and salvation, the end of the world, the Last Judgment and God’s mercy towards sinners.”  (HOMILIES  Vol 2, p 212)


St Nikolai points out people are always looking for meaning in rare and spectacular events like earthquakes or shooting stars or even human-made events like war. Then he points out that Christ not only reveals the Kingdom of Heaven to us, but He shows us that the most mundane events or ordinary things also have hidden in them signs of God’s Kingdom. Christ tells us to look carefully at the world all around us for everywhere there are signs of God’s Kingdom. The most ordinary things are symbols of heaven and the Kingdom. Christ endeavors to open our eyes to see the signs of the spiritual world all around us. What a gift it is to look at the ordinary events of our world and to see in them the most extraordinary revelation of God’s eternal Kingdom. God has placed signs of the ineffable and inconceivable right before our eyes. Jesus tries to help us see what He sees in the world which God loves.


Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. (John 14:6-11)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.