“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (NKJV)
The NIV says: “From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.”
In the preceding verses of this chapter, Jesus spoke to his listeners about John the Baptist. He spoke about all the wonderful attributes of John, and then he added that John the Baptist was a greater prophet than any others before him (because John experienced Jesus, which the other prophets had only spoken about).
When Jesus spoke about the “Kingdom of Heaven”, He was referring to the new dispensation, and the fullness of the blessings which are a part of the Gospel. This new dimension of blessing and grace became accessible to the children of God only after the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is why Jesus said that although John was mightier than any prophet who came before him, every born again believer washed in the blood of Jesus was greater. We are the inheritors of the new Kingdom and partakers of the new Covenant. We have been given the power and authority of Jesus. We are the forceful advancers of Heaven on the earth!
Since the demise of John the Baptist, and since the victory of Jesus upon the cross, the Kingdom has “suffered violence”. It has had to “forcefully advance”, because we entered the ‘last days’ and the kingdom of darkness has stepped up its onslaught. Revelations 12:12 tells us that the devil is filled with wrath “because he knows that his time is short”. Jesus won the ultimate victory on the cross, but the enemy refuses to admit defeat and give up! He musters the full fury of all his forces to stop the advancement of the Kingdom in this final hour.
God is speaking to His kids today through these verses. He wants us to begin to see our inheritance and press in to receive everything that is ours. Sometimes we have to really battle to receive what is rightfully ours by the power of the stripes and the shed blood of Jesus. We have already been given healing, but when we fall sick, it seems like we have to feed our faith, and believe and pray to see the full manifestation of it upon our bodies. Daddy has blessed us with increase and prosperity according to His riches in glory, but the devourer constantly tries to stop us walking in our inheritance.
God has given us righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17), but all the good gifts from heaven rarely simply fall upon our laps, because we have an enemy who constantly tries to stop us enjoying the life abundant, and hinders our upward walk. We cannot lie down and let him walk all over us, my friend. We cannot waver and vacillate between faith and fear. It is time to experience a revelation of just who we are in Jesus Christ! It is time to rise up and know that no weapon formed against us can prosper (Isaiah 54:17), and that the enemy was defeated by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony (Revelations 12:11). In these last days, the Father seeks warrior worshippers who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23 & 24), love warriors who will love Him more than anything or anyone else, and stand strong on the firm foundation of His Word. He calls His kids to know who they are in Him. Jesus said that we, the born again believers are greater than the great John the Baptist! He has cleansed us by His blood, and broken Satan’s power over our lives. He has filled us with His Spirit. He has given us all the power and authority of His name. There is no way we can fail, unless we believe we cannot win!
Friend, this God given life of blessing is ours by the power of the blood covenant on which we stand. Let us press in and take it all by “force” – assertively, strongly, authoritatively. When we do this, we are stepping up to take what is ours by right, and we receive Heaven’s full backing, as the Father smiles and says “Well done”, and the Holy Spirit helps us to receive the fullness of our inheritance. There is so much more which has been given to you and me and it is now time to receive!
Whatever you are facing in your life today, Daddy wants to encourage you with some simple steps for victory, as you keep pressing in to take the Kingdom by “force”.
• Set your face like flint (Isaiah 50:7) and determine that nothing shall hinder you from receiving what is yours in Jesus – fullness of life (John 10:10), health, strength, peace and prosperity.
• Keep your eyes fixed on the prize awaiting you. (Philippians 3:14).
• Stand firm where you are and do not waver. (Ephesians 6:13 &14).
• Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7). Refuse to believe his lies! (John 8:44).
• Submit to God, draw near to Him, and walk in obedience in all things (James 4:7 & 8).
• Keep praying and leaning in to the Father – your breakthrough is coming. (Ephesians 6:18).
Friend, the Father says to you and me today “All that I have is yours” (Luke 15:31) and “There is no good thing that I would withhold from you” (Psalm 84:11). He wants us to step into our inheritance. It delights His father heart when we begin to walk in His blessing. He longs for His kids to walk in a mindset of victory instead of defeat, and to boldly stand up to take what is theirs by right!
May the sweet Holy Spirit sink this Word into our hearts, and may we see the verdant pastures laid out before us, and all the goodness and glory which are ours. You are blessed, you are victorious, you are His very precious and special child! May you walk towards your divine inheritance from this day forth, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Minoli Haththotuwa, 09 October 2011