“As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’”
And so Jesus asks them to go, moving forward into the world in His name. Healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons. Something new is afoot, it seems, and the disciples get to be in the forefront.
I like what I see here, this manic picture of the effects of God’s kingdom when it breaks in on the world. It’s strange. It isn’t normal. It is shocking. But it is God.
As this new reality approaches, things start to get turned around. The effects of sin, death, and darkness begin to be radically and powerfully reversed. The ways of the world are suddenly turned back. For a flickering moment, we get a picture of something radically different.
It doesn’t take more than a moment for me to be reminded how much I yearn for this kingdom to break into my life and our world in a lasting way. How much I need it. Yet I’m also reminded how far off it can sometimes seem.
Experiencing such a moment of brightness can cause us to look back on our present darkness with more than a tinge of sadness. But before we despair, remember: this isn’t the end of the story. What Jesus describes here is merely what happens when God’s kingdom comes near.
Imagine what will happen when it actually arrives.