And the Violent Take It By Force?: Part 2, "The Kingdom Has Been Forcefully Coming, and the Forceful Seize It"

experimentaltheology.blogspot.com | 9/12/2017 | Staff
josh567 (Posted by) Level 3
I think the key to the interpretation of Matthew 11.12 lies in the context of Jesus' speech.

Again, all major translations translate Matthew 11.12 as a saying about the kingdom of God being attacked by forceful or violent persons. But that interpretation is the exact opposite of what Jesus is describing in the context of Matthew 11. According to Jesus in Matthew 11, the kingdom isn't being attacked. The kingdom is being rejected.

Text - Matthew - Highlights

I don't want to quote the entire text of Matthew 11.1-24, but it might be good for you to read it. But here are the highlights.

The passage begins with John questioning from prison if Jesus is indeed the Messiah. Jesus responds:

Report - John - Sight - Lame - Walk

“Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

Note the final line, "Blessed in anyone who does not stumble on account of me." John seems to be having doubts, and Jesus offers both evidence and a warning. In short, the context of Matthew 11 is one of doubt and warning.

Jesus - Crowd - John - Jesus - John

Jesus then turns to the crowd and begins to tell them about John. Jesus says John is a prophet, in fact John is Elijah, the long-awaited herald of the Messiah. So the issue before the crowd is if they will accept this fact:

For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Trouble - People - John - Jesus - People

The trouble is, the people aren't willing to accept John or Jesus. The people have rejected both John and Jesus. So Jesus...
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