Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom of God. Everywhere He went He preached the same message, “Repent for the kingdom of God,” or “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (see Matt. 4:17, Mark 1:15). All throughout the gospels, we find that Jesus’ emphasis was on the kingdom.
The primary reason Jesus came was to inaugurate the kingdom of God. Often, we hear that the reason Jesus came was to die on the cross. Jesus did come to die on the cross, but that death on the cross was for the purpose of establishing the kingdom of God.
There were multitudes of people when Jesus preached the message of the kingdom. Some missed it—others did not.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12). That word violent does not refer to a natural violence, but rather refers to a person who has a revelation of the kingdom and seizes it! They take it by force.
To take by force means to “seize it.” When the police come, they seize someone, they take them by force. When the kingdom comes to you, you need to seize it! You need to take it by force, don’t let it go by. If you do, you can miss it. Don’t take all the time you want to ponder and decide if you want it. When the kingdom comes, you have to grab it!
The message of the kingdom comes to some people and they think about it. They think about it, they examine it, and then it passes them by. Others who have had the kingdom come to them grasped it. They grasped it because they were desperate.
The gospel was preached primarily to the poor because they were desperate. Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18). The reason the poor enter the kingdom of God faster than the rich is because they are desperate. The rich man has to come to the end of himself. The poor are dependent, they are broken and they need help, they are ready for good news.
The poor and sick, the blind, the withered, the lame and demonized all rush into the kingdom of God. Those were the ones that followed the ministry of Christ.
Even in their state of being—sick, poor, and demonized, they knew they had a revelation that this man Jesus did not come to condemn them. He didn’t come to judge them. But He came to bring hope, to bring a kingdom that is not like the kingdom of the world.
In the kingdom of man, value is placed by position, power, fame and how much money someone has. The kingdom of God is the opposite. In God’s kingdom, a person’s status, power and name mean nothing. And how much money you have does not impress God.
Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:24). Jesus was not saying that it is impossible for the rich to enter His kingdom. But often, when they have power, money, prestige and influence, they also tend to have pride and are not humble. They don’t need or depend on anyone, so when the kingdom comes to them, oftentimes they reason, they ponder and examine, and say within themselves: “I don’t need that, I have everything. I have money and houses. I have a nice car, position, fame and power. I’m number one in my own kingdom, in my society.” They don’t have the revelation or understanding of their need for the kingdom of God.
The poor who have been oppressed, who are in need of deliverance, those who have been run down are the ones that Jesus came to preach to. These are the ones who pressed into the kingdom and seized it because they had understanding of their own need. They understood that there is a kingdom that is higher than the kingdoms that have held them down. A kingdom that is higher than any political kingdom, religious kingdom, higher than the kingdoms of witchcraft, or even the kingdoms of sickness. Every one of these people who have come to Jesus, they pressed, they believed and seized the kingdom of God, and they were healed, delivered and set free.
You need to seize His kingdom—grab it—because if you don’t, it will pass right by you! It's amazing how a miracle can be right at your door, and if you don’t grab it, it will go right by you. Healing can be right at your door, and if you don’t grab it, it will go right by you. We can't sit and look religious—when God shows up, grab Him! Bring Him into your situation. This is not the time to be cool or worry about what your friends and family will say. Recognize your need for healing and deliverance, and your need for the kingdom of God.
If you want to operate in this kingdom you will have to humble yourselves. If you want to operate in this kingdom you will have to lay some things aside. Lay aside ambition, desire to be seen, position, or lust for power. These are not the kingdom. Jesus, in effect, told the Pharisees (the religious people):
"The problem is, you’re looking for some grand event, for the heavens to open up. The kingdom does not come like that. The kingdom of God is here and now, because I am the king, and you don’t see it. Your eyes have been focused up in the heavens, but right here in front of you is the kingdom of God."
It’s the same today. People look up to heaven looking for something to happen, when God is saying, “My kingdom is right here, right now.”
When you hear the gospel of the kingdom of God—seize it! Grab hold of it and press toward it. Don’t miss it!
About the author: John Eckhardt is overseer of Crusaders Ministries in Chicago. Gifted with a strong apostolic call, he has ministered across the U.S. and in more than 80 other countries. He produces a weekly TV program, Perfecting the Saints, and is the author of more than 20 books, including Ordinary People, Extraordinary Power and the popular Prayers That ... series (Prayers That Rout Demons, Prayers That Break Curses, Prayers That Bring Healing, Prayers That Release Heaven). For more, visit his ministry at www.impactnetwork.net.