Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Luke 1:32-33; 11:2; 17:23-24; 18:16-30; 21:34-36; Revelation 21:1-3
Graduation season begins, reaches a peak, and tapers off as 2015 graduates of all levels from preschool through doctoral programs receive diplomas and awards before moving on to the next stage of their lives. Teachers, political leaders, pastors, business executives, and others of influence commend graduates on their accomplishments and encourage them to reach beyond what now is. These graduates are challenged to use their learning to make a difference. They are reminded that hardship and difficulties have produced leaders.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, shared with graduates of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., that he won an essay contest by submitting a handwritten entry. He went on to explain that he wrote draft after draft because his family could not afford the expense of a typewriter. Michelle Obama reminded graduates of Tuskegee University in Alabama, that the road ahead would not be easy—just as it was not easy for those who have paved the road for them. Students at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, were admonished by George W. Bush to hold onto the belief that God’s grace and love will sustain them through life’s trials. None of these esteemed speakers could promise graduates that life would be free of difficulties, heartbreaks, setbacks, and losses, despite the hard work that had brought them to this point.1
Today we study about God’s kingdom. Unlike graduations, which provide entrance into another phase of life or a new career, entry into this kingdom is not based on merit, achievements, or accomplishments. We become a part of this dominion by submitting to the One who died and rose again—the One who died to forgive our sins and rose victorious, defeating sin. That submission might even be at the cost of leaving home or family. But even if this happens, we are promised life with God. Gospel writers repeatedly explain what this kingdom is like. It is a kingdom that never ends. It is a kingdom that belongs to people who are like the children who wanted to be near Jesus. It is a kingdom where people care for others and don’t let riches deter them.
Jesus taught believers to pray for the coming of this kingdom, and we are promised that it will come. However, because it will come unexpectedly, we must be ready. This kingdom will come. God’s people will be at home with the Almighty! They will live with their God.
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