John, the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, (also known as John the Baptist), prepared the way for the Lord. He preached, “…Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). Jesus, himself, preached the same message, “…Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matt. 4:17).
Here are a few verses that teach about the kingdom:
“…his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:33).
“…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33).
“…it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:23).
Peter was to be given, “…the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
Nicodemus was taught how to “enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
Some living in Jesus’ time would not die, “before they see the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:27).
Jesus will not take of the Lord’s Supper again until He drinks it, “anew in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:25).
Those who are, “…least in the kingdom of God…” are greater than John the Baptist (Luke 7:28).
Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world….” (John 18:36).
Even with all of Jesus’ teaching about the KINGDOM, there was still some confusion. The confusion came from the ideas people had in their own minds even before Jesus was born. Many were looking for a Messiah that would deliver them from the rule of the Romans. Some wanted to make Jesus an earthly king like David or Solomon had been. Others were not sure that they wanted anything to change.
The apostles asked Jesus, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).
With all of these questions floating around, with all of the different expectations, Jesus went to the cross. His apostles “…deserted Him and fled” (Mark 14:50). They gathered in a room “…with the doors locked for fear…,” (John 20:19). Others said, “…we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel…” (Luke 24:21).
There was a man who understood what Jesus had been talking about. He believed that Jesus was going to have a KINGDOM. Death was coming soon, his death, Jesus’ death, but still he believed. He was a thief. He was being crucified beside Jesus. He said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).
Jesus rewards simple faith and childlike understanding!