Matthew’s Gospel contains rich teaching on the kingdom of God, with thirty-two sayings peculiar to himself.
Mt 3:2 – John preaches repentance in view of the nearness of the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 4:17 – from the time of John’s arrest onwards, the same message is found on the lips of Jesus.
In Mt 4:23; 9:35 this message is linked with Jesus’ ministry of healing. In Mt 10:5-8 Jesus commissions the Twelve with the same message and ministry.
The first and last of the beatitudes, Mt 5:3,10, feature the kingdom of God. Humility and righteousness are necessary preconditions for possessing the kingdom.
In Mt 5:19f Jesus links disobedience and obedience to ‘these commandments’ to being least or greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and asserts that unless his hearers’ righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees they will not enter the kingdom.
In the Lord’s Prayer, the future coming of the kingdom features in the first petition, Mt 6:10.
In Mt 6:33 it is the radicalness of the kingdom which is emphasised: the interests of the kingdom are to take precedence over all other interests.
The Sermon on the Mount closes with the assertion that entrance to the kingdom does not depend on lip-service, but on faithful obedience to the will of God, Mt 7:21.
According to Mt 8:11–12; 21:43; 22:2, membership of God’s kingdom is not through descent, but through faith. This closes the door to many of the ‘children of the kingdom’, but opens it to Gentile believers.
Although John was very great, Jesus declared him to be less than the least in the kingdom, Mt 11:11. John has a preparatory role, but now the kingdom has drawn near.
From Mt 21:31 we learn that those who are most eager to enter the kingdom are those who are, in fact, furthest from it.
Jesus’ miracles are a sign of the immanence of the kingdom in Mt 12:28.
Mt 14, which contains the parables of the kingdom, mentions the kingdom twelve times.
In Mt 16:19 Peter is given the keys to the kingdom. This is in contrast to the Jewish teachers, who, according to Mt 23:13 were not only excluded form the kingdom themselves, but obstructed the way for others.
Mt 16:28; 20:21 – a future kingdom is ascribed to the Son of man.
When the disciples ask who is the greatest in the kingdom, Mt 18:1, Jesus replies that the kingdom belongs to those with childlike faith, Mt 18:3f. Cf. Mt 19:14.
The kingdom of God both illustrates and demands forgiveness, Mt 18:23. It may demand abstention from marriage, Mt 19:12, and is certianly to be loved above earthly possessions, Mt 19:23f.
In God’s kingdom, rewards are apportioned in such a way that the last may be first and the first last, Mt 20:1.
There is a future, apocalyptic orientation in the Olivet discourse, Mt 25. Those who persevere to the end will be saved. The end will not come until the gospel of the kingdom has been proclaimed throughout the world. The parable of the ten virgins, Mt 25:1, teaches persevereance and watchfulness. In the great judgment, the Son of man will invite the faithful to inherit the kingdom that has been prepared for them, Mt 25:34. The destinty of the righteous is bliss; that of the unrighteous is everlasting torment.
During the Last Supper, Jesus looked forward to the feast in God’s kingdom, saying that he will not drink wine until that day.
Based on art. ‘The Kingdom of God’ in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels.