Matthew 13:45-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Jesus used parables to describe things we could not see, could not touch could not feel, so that we might be able to at least grasp in our mind the concept. Many of the parables begin – The Kingdom of God is like . . . and then he gives a description of something that we can understand. The Key to understanding these parables, is to have an understanding of what Jesus is talking about. So, what is the Kingdom of God?

The Kingdom of God is everything that God is doing to re-establish his rule over and among mankind. The kingdom of God refers to all of God’s activity, past, present, and future to restore creation to the way it was before man fell into sin. You see, that is the nature of kingdoms, they endure. So when we talk about the kingdom of God, we are not talking about something that is only in the future, like the resurrection on the last day, or going to heaven. The kingdom of God is all around us, and God is at work all around us, and in us. Jesus used these parables to describe how God acts.

Every once in a while we may get an idea that we know what God ought to do, and form time to time we may believe that things would be much better if only we were in charge. At times like that, we need something to help us imagine what things would be like if we were in charge – and there are such games – things like SimCity and Civilization – you get to make all the decisions on how things ought to be – and if you play such a game, you will find that keeping a city or a civilization running involves a great deal of compromise. Its hard to keep everyone happy – and if you don’t keep them happy they rebel. When our government works, it works by compromise – when we fail to compromise – we get what they have come to call gridlock – and nothing gets accomplished/

And that is what brings us back to our text – for the one thing we learn about how God is working to bring salvation to us – is that God has an uncompromising commitment. God will give up anything and everything in order to re-establish his kingdom. That may not be earth shattering news to anyone who knows John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

But sometimes we read the text too narrowly, focusing on those who believe, rather than on God’s commitment to the whole world. We forget how big the kingdom of God is – we forget that there is no part of the universe that is not part of the kingdom of God. Here it is sometimes helpful to speak of the Kingdom in its 3 parts – the Kingdom of Grace, the Kingdom of Glory and the Kingdom of Power; not that God has more than one kingdom – however it is possible to experience it differently. The Kingdom of Glory are the saints in heaven, they rest from their labors, they are in perfect peace and harmony. The Kingdom of Grace, is God’s rule over the church – a rule through word and sacrament – we experience grace, mercy, forgiveness – we live by faith, confident that God will provide. The Kingdom of Power is how God deals with the rest of the world, especially with those who do not believe – no grace, no glory – he establishes his rule by power. How powerful is it? Consider that in the kingdom of Power even the devils believe, worship and tremble.

God has an uncompromising commitment to the re-establishment of his rule over and among men. This is important, because it tells us that it will happen. But what is perhaps more important is that it also tells us what price God is willing to pay to make it happen. But the biggest thing, is that commitment is for us. We by our sins were in bondage to the devil – and God sent his son as the sacrifice to set us free. God did all thing because he loves us, we are his chosen people.

If this is God’s commitment to us, what might be our response to him – who has loved us so greatly?