Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
The verse above has been a mystery to many of us, including me. But the sense of it must be taken from the prevailing circumstance when Jesus spoke those words. The rulers and most outwardly religious among the Jews could not see the urgency upon them to abandon their comfort in the world. Their religious system was on the brink of ruin; in less than a generation, Jerusalem, the temple, and everything on which they based their personal significance would be in shambles.
As the Messiah stood before them announcing that the kingdom of God was at hand, those who should have recognized the true riches of the kingdom He offered them, shunned it, derided Him and held on to their present comfort because the kingdom of Jesus threatened their comparatively paltry earthly status. On the other hand, those few deemed the most unworthy saw the tremendous opportunity before them, dropped everything formerly important to them and, in great zeal and fervor, stormed the gates of heaven to take this new kingdom at any personal cost to themselves. The word “violence” describes the great, urgent desire they had for finding their place in Christ’s kingdom. Jesus was telling all who would listen, “Run into the kingdom like a man desperate for it. Lust after this kingdom as though everything you presently possess is garbage by comparison. Because it is.”
The complacency about the kingdom of God today is too much like the disinterest of the Pharisees. Even we, who have come to Jesus, have not rushed into His kingdom with the great abandon and eagerness of men zealous to take a marvelous city. We have kept our home in the world and viewed heaven as a retirement home – “We’ll live there when it’s convenient for us to move from here.” – not considering that we must occupy it now.
I’m pretty sure that complacency can be felt in heaven.
Father, open our eyes so that we may see the shakiness and impending destruction of the foundation on which we have built our earthly lives. Enable us to feel the urgency of being fully invested in Your kingdom. May we desire Your presence above any and every thing. (Further reference: Colossians 3:1-3)