November 18, 2010

The Kingdom's Justice First!

Matthew 6:25-34

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6:33


Here Jesus sets our priorities. He reminds us that although it’s common to worry about material things, it should be different for his disciples. They are to first seek God’s kingdom and its justice. Yes, as disciples, we may concern ourselves secondarily with food, clothing, and other earthly needs. But the first concern of the Christian is God’s kingly reign.

Notice that Jesus does not only say we should seek God’s kingdom. He adds that we are to seek “his righteousness,” or, as some other translations put it—his justice. Kings were lawmakers. In ancient times, a king was the provider of justice and peace in the land. So seeking God’s kingdom involves a search for the justice of God. And we know what God’s justice is like if we have read Jesus’ teaching in the text surrounding our passage for today (see Matthew 5-7). In the kingdom great reversals occur—the poor inherit kingdom riches, the sorrowful are comforted, the empty are filled. The justice of God turns worldly “justice” on its head. The first are last, and the last first.

As Christians, we are called to seek out and establish this upside-down justice of God’s kingdom. Remember that seeking this justice is primary. To justice seekers in God’s kingdom, other “things” will come.

God of justice, help us to put first things first. Your kingdom and its justice must be first in our lives. May your upside-down justice overturn an upside-down world. Amen.

About the author — Kent Van Til

Kent Van Til was a missionary in Costa Rica. He taught theological ethics both there and in the USA. He is the author of four books. The most recent is a spiritual biography of his grandmother entitled, "A Name for Herself: A Dutch Immigrant's Story." Kent likes to fish, hunt, make music, and entertain his grandchildren.

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