The snap of a thousand bowstrings sends a cloud of arrows skyward only to speedily descend on their unknown targets. Catapults swing and send boulders careening toward stone walls. A hundred legs work to roll siege ramps closer and closer to the city. Somewhere, Orlando Bloom is screaming like a man with wild hair, dirt and someone else’s blood on his face, while he stabs someone.
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven
violent men take it by force.
American culture exudes violence. We create and consume violent movies, television shows, books, toys and video games. It’s in our blood, or so we say to justify squandering our time with any media that has gobs of blood and people treating each other like garbage.
The average American probably imagines a city under attack when they read Matthew 11:12. We picture Mel Gibson and other manly actors running around leading an army or two to victory over foes who obviously have to die in as brutal a way as possible. But can we really imagine good people attacking the Kingdom of Heaven like that?
J.W. McGarvey offers a different picture; one of a man, hasty to enjoy the sights and scent of a flower that has yet to blossom. He peels back the sepals, and delicately begins to unfurl underdeveloped petals. They bend, tear and fall out. By the time this impatient individual has completed his task, he’s got a scentless, mess of green with hints of other color. It’s only after this pleasureless sight has been fully appreciated that the man realizes he could have had more if he waited.
This interpretation suggests that we should be patient and allow the Kingdom of Heaven to open up to us, like a precious, precious flower to enjoy what it has to offer. I suppose we have to ask ourselves,
What is the Kingdom of Heaven and
can I afford to wait for it?
Tell me how you’d define the Kingdom of Heaven, and come back in a couple of days to see the other popular interpretation of this verse. Maybe it’ll change your mind and approach!