Let's Be the Violent Ones! (Please read before you allow that term to upset you.)
Who are the violent ones in Matthew 11? Which perspective do you have (or have you had)? If we call the world and the demonic the violent ones, then we are the victims. But that can’t be right…
1 John 5:4-5 “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” If this is true then we are NOT the victims, but the victors. And if we are the victors then maybe in the context of Matthew 11, we are to be the violent ones.
Matt 11:12 "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force." Not from the days of the Pharisees, the Sadducees or the Sanhedrin, but from the days of John the Baptist. The “violence” started with John the Baptist. John confronted the religious spirits and compromise.
Complacency doesn’t take the kingdom. Contending, Confrontation, and Commitment do!
Luke 16:16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”
However, if we have been given the keys of the kingdom (Matthew 16:19), then why would we need to take the kingdom by force?
First of all, we have to think about the environment in which Jesus was speaking. He was speaking to a crowd of people that had been following John the Baptist, a crowd full of Pharisees and Sadducees, religious men. The kingdom of heaven was “supposed” to be theirs, the religious who received it by tradition. These very men were rejecting the message of God through John the Baptist. They would not hear or repent.
On the other hand, there were the sinners, prostitutes, and the uneducated who heard the message and were whole heartedly repenting and receiving the truth of God’s word. They were violently moved to run after the kingdom. The line from the song, How He Loves, says “My heart turns violently inside of my chest.” How many of us have known that feeling of a “violent” move on our heart to run after Jesus and everything He paid a price for? Violent in that sense is not destructive but passionate and intense.
Based on a little research, the verse from Matthew 11 could be translated, the kingdom of heaven forces itself, the kingdom of God presses itself on the notice of men and these forceful men seize it or claim it for themselves.
Isn’t that exactly what was happening then? People who didn’t have a hope of ranking with the religious men of their time found out that the kingdom of God was available to them so they ran for it, right past the Pharisees and Sadducees who were denying it. 2 Timothy 3:5 mentions those who “hold to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.” And says, “Avoid such men as these.” Those violently taking the kingdom ran past the men holding to a religious form and went after the power and love of God.
We are the violent ones. We are not victims of society, life, family or any other thing. The violent ones must pursue true godliness and embrace its power. We must allow God to show us when a religious spirit that celebrates a form of religion while denying its power is at operation in us. It’s not healthy to be on a constant hunt for religious spirits in our lives, but I promise you that if you are diligently pursuing God, you will become so aware of the “real” thing that it will be or should I say HE will be all you want.