In Matthew 11, Jesus talks about the kingdom of God, and he uses the word “violence.” That’s what the Greek word means. There’s no way around it.
The context is Jesus telling us about John the Baptist, who realized the kingdom of heaven is real. Then Jesus says the kingdom of heaven comes with violence. This bothers us. Isn’t this Jesus? Isn’t this the one who said, “turn the other cheek?” Yes. That’s the reason why Jesus uses this term. Jesus is a communicator. He knows by saying this you’re going to be startled. You’re going to say, “What does that mean?”
Let’s cooperate with him. Let’s ask, what is this holy violence? Let’s look at 1) what it’s not, 2) what it is, and 3) why we need it.
This sermon was preached by Dr. Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on June 3, 1992. Series: Hard Sayings of Jesus (1993). Scripture: Matthew 11:7-15.
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