A man of folk-lore and legend in the Midwest is John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. During the 1800’s he wandered the country-side of large parts of Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia planting apple orchards…some of which still stand today. This American pioneer nurseryman spent his lifetime scattering seed in hopes of a harvest someday. In these verses, Jesus is likening the kingdom of God to the mystery of germination and growth and what man’s responsibility is in it all. We are told to plant or scatter seed…the Good News of the Gospel Message, and then to allow God to do the rest. For God’s kingdom grows in His time, in His way…always moving forward. So just like Johnny Appleseed, we are to be sowers of hope and leave the progress up to God.
Psalm 40:8 tells us, “I desire ( or choose) to do Your will O my God.” We even see Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying, “Yet not as I will (want), but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) When we seek God’s will… we desire that which pleases God and thus will create joy within us…for we will find ourselves in the center of His will…and it’s the very best place to be.
To paraphrase Acts 26:18…We are to turn from spiritual darkness to the light of Jesus Christ… from the limited power of Satan to the infinite power of God, so that we may receive forgiveness of our sins and a place among fellow Believers who are sanctified by faith in Jesus. The Lord has snatched us from danger and set us free…the chains have been broken off and we are no longer a slave to sin and the jurisdiction of darkness…for the Kingdom of God is now residing within our hearts. (Luke 17:21)
The verse written here was the fulfillment of prophecy first spoken by the prophet Isaiah, “The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2) Jesus was the embodiment of light and truth, and His message still rings true today…”Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
David had seen earthly kingdoms rise and fall in his lifetime. But this Psalm of praise he wrote exalted God for His limitless Kingdom…continuing from the ancient past into the infinite future. David was celebrating God’s sovereignty…His reign over all things…and the eternal scope of His rule. And we also praise You, God, today for Your faithfulness… for kingdoms will rise and fall…but Your Heavenly Kingdom is without end. Amen.
This everlasting Kingdom was setup by God and given to His Son, Christ Jesus. And as Believers, this Kingdom dwells within our hearts. And in this, comes the rub. For like this everlasting Kingdom, we too are in the world, but not of it. Our lives here on earth are transitory, but at the same time filled with the repercussions of living in a fallen, broken world. So what are we to do? We walk this earth as aliens and foreigners longing for home, but also recognizing we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Our citizenship may not be of this world, but while we’re here… we’re to be about our Father’s business.
Paul was under house arrest in Rome and confined for 2 years in a little house under constant guard by the Roman soldiers. He could have had quite a pity party…but he instead chose to use his situation for good. Yes, he was confined in one spot…but his spirit was free, for the Kingdom of God was within his heart. He could have been intimidated by the soldiers, but he chose not to have restrictions and limitations placed on God’s Word that he preached. Paul’s fearless teaching to all who wandered into that house…including the soldiers listening, was a way of him saying, “What can man do to me? My physical body may be incarcerated, but my soul is free.”
King Solomon had not followed the laws of God that commanded the Israelites not to intermarry with foreigners. Of his 700 wives and 300 concubines, numerous were foreign women who worshiped many gods. Instead of remaining fully committed and totally obedient…Solomon acquiesced and compromised his devotion to the Lord.
Today I proclaim to you the Kingdom of God is at hand. It’s not far away, it’s not impossible to understand…it’s right here, right now. Your search can end to fill that unfillable void in your life…it’s here…His name is Jesus. That’s how Christians all over the world are bound together… by the good news of our Savior.