Day 15

Entering the Kingdom

from the The Kingdom of God reading plan

Matthew 7:7-29, Psalm 16:7-11, Matthew 13:24-30, Matthew 13:36-43, Matthew 22:1-14

BY Melanie Rainer

Jesus describes what it means to enter the kingdom.

I adore the poetry of Robert Frost. I love his embedded New Englandism, as steady as its granite mountains, and his command of simple syntax. Perhaps his most famous poem is known for a line you’ll likely recognize, one that conjures the image of two roads diverging in a yellow wood. “The Road Not Taken” ends with this stanza:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This poem has been oft debated and never settled, and despite its cultural fame, only Frost knows what his original intent was. Its open-endedness is one of the gifts of poetry, one that offers acres for our minds to wander without much of a map. But the poem’s imagery of “two roads” can help lead us into today’s readings by envisioning a stark choice. These passages include several teachings of Jesus that, in essence, pose the questions: “Will you follow me? Which road will you take: the narrow, or the wide?” (Matthew 7:13). 

There are theological tomes written about each of these stories: the “ask, seek, knock” passage, the two foundations of sand and rock, the parables of the wheat and weeds and of the wedding banquet. There are certainly more nuances and jewels buried in these stories than I may ever have time to learn in this life. But the driving beat in each song is the question of whether we will choose to follow Jesus.

“Will you come to church?” and “Will you be a good person?” are not the questions being asked. It’s much starker and harder than that: Will you follow Jesus in His kingdom? And will your life be fundamentally changed, bearing good kingdom fruit?

These stories offer us a warning and an invitation to take the narrow path toward Jesus, though it won’t be easy. It will cost us a lot in this world: comfort, pleasure, wealth, self-sufficiency, and myriad other things. And our choice, as Jesus says repeatedly, is not a verbal one. It will show in our actions, of how we love others the way He loves them. 

But the good news is that when we follow Jesus on the narrow path, we do not walk alone. The Holy Spirit will be our guide, sealing and securing our place in the kingdom. God’s Word will be “a lamp for [our] feet and a light on [our] path” (Psalm 119:105). And the hardest work, opening the door to the kingdom, has already been accomplished by Jesus. He forged a path to God when it was overgrown with sin; all we have to do is follow Him down the path He has revealed to us. A path where in His presence there is abundant joy, and at His right hand are eternal pleasures (Psalm 16:11). 

Post Comments (49)

49 thoughts on "Entering the Kingdom"

  1. Mercy says:

    @ Free Indeed- thank you for sharing your story. I am praying for you, and our God of all mercies will set you free. I love how you choose that name. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). God knows you, He knows all of your ways and He will rescue you from your struggles.
    “You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.(Psalm 139).
    “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” (Psalm 56:8)

  2. Victoria E says:

    ERB I would love to join in on reading Isaiah too!

  3. Kristen says:

    @ Traci Genrond I just listened to Paul Washet preach a message called, Examine Yourself. He talks about how some people believe they are Christian but aren’t. He even says in the beginning of the recording that this message had angered many. However, I kept listening till the end and I am so glad I did. If you want to listen, here is a link;

  4. ERB says:

    FREE INDEED, I also know the struggle of this, and really appreciate you sharing! I am praying with you!!

    CEEGEE, so glad you are enjoying reading the comments from Isaiah… I too, love this book and have recently felt led by The Spirit to read it, keeping in mind and realizing the significance of how it pertains to both the old and new testaments…really good stuff!! Maura also expressed interest in reading Isaiah.. so we are doing it together, along with our regular SRT readings… please feel free to join us!!

    MAURA, I wasn’t sure what chapter we were on today either, so I had to go back and look!! Guess we both have a lot on our plates right now! Haha!! I will read chapters 9-10 tonight and we’ll touch base tomorrow…hope your day was super blessed!!

  5. Mary Snyder says:

    Alicia Gilbert – iii. “He came because he was invited, but he came only in appearance. The banquet was intended to honor the King’s Son, but this man meant nothing of the kind; he was willing to eat the good things set before him, but in his heart there was no love either for the King or his well-beloved Son.” (Spurgeon)

    i. “He had, by his action, if not in words, said, ‘I am a free man, and will do as I like.’ So the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him.’ Pinion him; let him never be free again. He had made too free with holy things; he had actively insulted the King.” (Spurgeon)

    ii. This parable demonstrates that those indifferent to the gospel, those antagonistic against the gospel, and those unchanged by the gospel share the same fate. None of them enjoyed

  6. Andrea Silverstein says:

    The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds (MT 13:24-30) encourages me to be the wheat, even among all the weeds in my life. At first glance, it seems like intense competition to succeed as wheat when surrounded by weeds. The wheat can’t do anything to triumph over the weeds. It’s just wheat. However, it was designed by God to be wheat, which means being “just wheat” is enough. I take comfort knowing that the same God who made wheat strong enough to triumph over the weeds chose to make me. I am encouraged by the reminder that by staying true to who God made me, by following his voice in my life, I am also already strong enough to overcome the weeds in my life and find my place with Him.

  7. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Thank you Kay for explaining the wedding clothes:)

  8. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that I would live my life radically different because I am a follower of Christ. I don’t want to look like a person of this world; though it is so easy to begin to conform to the pattern of this world. I pray that God would give me the power to be in this world, but not of it.

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