Saturday, 6 February 2021
Title: Kingdom of Heaven
By: Wong Yoke Ming

Matthew 4:17

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Which time was “that time”? It was a time after Herod pursued Him to kill Him; it was a time after He had to flee to Egypt, that pagan land out from which Moses led ancient Israel to the land of promise; and it was a time after He was led into the desert to be tempted and tormented by the devil. There are those who think Jesus used the phrase “kingdom of heaven,” instead of the “kingdom of God” (as in Mark 1:15 and Luke 4:43), out of Jewish reverence for the Name of Yahweh. I am inclined to think not.

Throughout Matthew’s gospel, beginning with the incomparable “Sermon on the Mount” of chapters 5-7, the kingdom of heaven has been the reference point. Scholars even identify the overall teaching of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel as (1) Kingdom life – chapters 5-7; (2) Kingdom mission – chapter 10; (3) Kingdom growth – chapter 13; (4) Kingdom community – chapter 18; and (5) Kingdom future – chapter 24-25.

But we should ask: why is the emphasis on the “kingdom of heaven”? At the beginning of chapter 5, Jesus went up on a mountain and His disciples gathered round Him. So, He had intended the teaching for His disciples although He did not restrict the ‘crowds’ from listening. He taught the disciples, what became known as, the “beatitudes” and told them to be ‘salt and light.’ He told them that their righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees, who were meticulous in following the letter of the Old Testament Mosaic Law. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 3:20, reminded us that the Law only made us aware of sin and works of the Law could not justify us in God’s sight.

But Jesus taught an obedience that comes from our hearts – indeed the spirit of the Law. In teaching that He had come to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17-19), He was not only teaching His disciples, He would also be showing them as they journeyed with Him in His earthly ministry.

The word ‘beatitudes’ is never used in the English translation of the Bible; it has been derived from the Latin word ‘beatitudo’ – a term that, both in Hebrew and Greek, may be translated as “blessings” and refers to divine favor for the righteous.

James reminded us that the Law is not a single instruction but a whole Law. If we fail one, we fail all (James 2:11). Thus, while the Law convicts us of our wrongdoing (thus, prohibitions in our way of life), Jesus teaches us what we need to do (the positive actions in our lives).

This teaching is incredibly and wonderfully encapsulated in Matthew 6, when Jesus taught us to pray – praising God: our heavenly Father, His hallowed Name, His kingdom extended on earth and His will be done; petitioning the Father’s provision for us – our needs supplied; our sins forgiven (provided we forgive) and temptations defeated. What a prayer!!

“Daily bread” in the Greek may also be translated as ‘tomorrow’s bread.’ Jesus therefore teaches us not to worry about what we eat, because ‘tomorrow’s bread’ is the spiritual bread in the kingdom. And He finally exhorts us to build our house on rock – a solid platform.

And now it remains for us to ask ourselves the true purpose of the sermon. It is all about life in the kingdom of heaven. It is, undoubtedly, a blessed life; it is a life free of anxiety; it is a life lived in light. But, most importantly, it is a life that none of us can have unless we first get into the kingdom.

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.


Heavenly Father, we ask for Your divine favor, we seek to magnify Your eternal glory, we knock on the door of Your kingdom.

Give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven others, and lead us not into temptation. Amen.



“从那时候”是哪个时间?希律王追祂要杀祂的那时侯; 祂必须离埃及的那段时间之后;被摩西引到异乡的应许之地的以色列人;祂入了沙漠被魔鬼试探与诱惑的那段时间。有些人认为耶稣出于犹太人对耶和华的名称而使用“天国”而不是“神的国”(如马可福音1:15和路加福音4:43)。我的理解不这样认为。

在马太福音中,从第5-7章中,无与伦比的“登山宝训”开始,天国一直是参考点。学者们甚至把马太福音中耶稣的整体教导看成是:(1)天国生活– 第5-7章; (2)天国使命–第10章; (3)天国成长 – 第13章; (4)天国的人民 – 第18章; (5)天国的未来 – 第24-25章。

但是我们应该问:为什么强调“天国”?第五章开始时,耶稣上山,门徒聚集在祂的周围。因此,尽管祂并没有限制“人群”听,但祂原本打算为门徒讲授。祂教导门徒,即所谓的“宝训”,并告诉他们“盐和光”。祂告诉他们,他们的公义必须超过法利赛人的公义及法利赛人遵循摩西的法律。使徒保罗在罗马书3:20中提醒我们,20 所以凡有血气的 ,没有一个因行律法能在神面前称义,因为律法本是叫人知罪。

但是耶稣教导了我们心中的顺服—确实是律法的实质精神。在祂的教导中,祂要成 全律法 和 先 知 (马太福音5:17-19),他不仅在教导他的门徒,而且还要向他们展示在地上的事工与祂同行的过程。

圣经的英文译本中从未使用“宝训”一词;它源于拉丁语“ beatitudo”(希伯来语和希腊语),可以翻译为“祝福”,指的是对义人的神圣恩宠。雅各提醒我们,法律不是单一的指示,而是完整的法律。如果我们失败了,我们将全部失败(雅 各 書2:11)。因此,虽然律法将我们的不法行为定罪(因此,我们的生活方式受到禁止),但耶稣基督却教导我们我们需要做的事情(我们生活中的积极行动)。

当耶稣教我们祈祷时,这一教导被奇妙地、完美地带入马太福音6中 – 赞美上帝:我们的天父,他的圣名,他的国度在地上延伸,他的旨意得以成就;祈求天父为我们准备的粮食 – 我们所提供的需求;我们的罪孽得到了宽恕(只要我们宽恕别人),诱惑也被击败了。多么特别的祈祷!




祷告:天父,我们祈求你的神圣恩宠,我们寻求扩张 你永恒的荣耀,我们敲开你国度的门。我們日用的飲食, 今日賜給我們,免我們的債, 如同我們免了人的債, 不叫我們遇見試探。阿们。