One of the central themes that theologians often take note of in Jesus’s teachings, parables, and miracles recounted by Matthew and Luke is the “great reversal”, the idea that “the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Mt 20:16, Lk 13:30). This reversal is clear in the famous “Sermon on the Mount”; Jesus teaches that the kingdom of heaven is for the “poor in spirit… the meek…the merciful…the peacemakers… [and] the persecuted” (Mt 5:3-11, Lk 6:20-23). Though this teaching is now commonplace in modern Christian communities, it was an utterly radical shift from what an early disciple of Jesus would have expected to hear from the Messiah, the figure that they hoped to be a great conqueror; the notion that the kingdom of heaven, the place where even the least among its populace is “greater than John the Baptist”, belongs to the poor, the meek, and the peacemaker, those who “have nothing”, appeared to be an outlandish claim. Jesus did not mince words, however, and went on to preach, “Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation… woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep” (Lk 6:24-26). The Beatitud...
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...s angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” (Mt 13:41). These teachings and parables reveal that the Kingdom of God is a place of mercy and justice, where there is no sin.
The teachings, parables, and miracles divulge “knowledge of the kingdom of God”. The Sermon on the Mount, the “Parable of the Rich Young Man”, and the healing of gentiles show the inclusiveness of the kingdom. Likewise, the “Parable of the Unforgiving Servant” and Jesus’s teaching about the law and the expulsion of evil convey the notion that the Kingdom is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s mercy and justice. It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude that reading the gospels of Matthew and Luke can help one discover what is meant by the “Kingdom of God”.
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