Matthew 11:11-13 “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John…
This passage of scripture has always been a bit intriguing to me. What could it possibly mean? What does it mean the kingdom of heaven suffers violence? Other scriptures tell us to ask, seek and knock and keep it up. Don’t quit.
I would like to submit to you some examples from the scriptures where we see people absolutely committed to not giving up on what they want from God. The New Testament has several instances where people pestered Jesus with this attitude.
There is one Old Testament example I am thinking of and that is Daniel. In Daniel chapter 10, we see Daniel staying in a posture of prayer and fasting for a full three weeks before the angel could break through the heavenly battle to get the answer to him. What would have happened if Daniel had not stayed at it for three weeks?n Would he have received his answer?
In the new Testament, I am first reminded of the story of the Syrophoenician woman who absolutely would not take no for an answer from Jesus, even though He tried to dissuade her. Matthew 15:21-28, Mark 7:24-30. She had no right to Israel’s benefits. She had no covenant with God and was therefore outside of the benefits that God bestows. But Jesus gave in to her and commended her faith. It is a remarkable story.
Another story that Jesus told was the one about the woman pestering the judge until he gave her what she wanted. Luke 18:1-8. She refused to quit.
Blind Bartimaus (Mark 10:46-52) was not dissuaded by those around him who told him to shut up while he was crying out for Jesus’s attention. He got his eyes healed.
The woman with the issue of blood had spent all her money for 14 years with no cure in sight. She pressed through the crowd to get what she wanted even though she was unclean and could have been stoned to death for it. Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48. She was healed.
Jesus sent out the seventy disciples to cast out devils and heal the sick. They came back rejoicing that the demons were subject to them, which was really GREAT news! Jesus told them He saw satan fall like lightning from Heaven and to rejoice not so much about that, but to rejoice that their names were written in Heaven. Luke 10:17-20. I believe Jesus was referring to seeing demonic powers lose their grip on the people the disciples had minstered to.
When God’s people go out and preach the Good News, healing the sick and casting out demons, the immediate heavens do suffer loss and great confusion comes to the demonic powers. They lose their authority over man when that truth is preached. They hate the blood of Jesus that was shed for us and they hate it that they got beat at the cross. There is also more “violence’ that Heaven suffers as men learn the truth that salvation includes healing for their bodies, that their needs are provided, and that God has a plan for their lives that they can find out. The postures of standing, insisting, claiming and pounding on the door as we see in some of the examples cited above is required to obtain most of God’s promises. I suspect that many are ignorant of this fact, relying on the sovereignty of God to provide their needs, or, they give up too soon before seeing the answer to their petitions. Some do not have the confidence in their right standing with God to take this stance and to insist on receiving from Heaven. They may take a posture of begging God instead. These are never quite sure that it really belongs to them.
Our right standing with God was only provided through acceptance of Jesus’s payment for our sins. This alone restores our relationship to God. There is nothing we did to earn it in any fashion. It is strictly based on what Jesus did on the cross.
In this great exchange, our sin for His righteousness, God has given us salvation, healing, and provision. It’s in “the will”, or the New Testament. If you were to read someone’s will and find out they left you a million dollars, would you not insist on getting it? Would you not say “That is rightfully mine and I want it?” We need to ascertain what the “will” of God is and then go after it until we see it manifested in our world. Heaven is waiting and the devil will try to stop it because that’s his job. He hates God and he hates you. Our job is see the kingdom come and to enforce the will of God in the earth that Jesus has already proclaimed and died to provide. That’s why we pray”Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” as we are instructed in Matthew 6:10. The New Testament declares what the will of God is.
Let us not delay!
Hebrews 3:14-15 “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.“