When Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry, His message was, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Some gospels say, “the Kingdom of Heaven,” but they are interchangeable terms. Jesus came to proclaim and demonstrate the Kingdom of God. When speaking about the Kingdom of God, He was speaking to a people who were not Kingdom-motivated people. Many messianic prophecies had spoken about the coming of the son of David, who would reign over the people of God. David represented a noble warrior. He had taken on the giant, Goliath, as his initial act before the people, and his life was one of courage and action. David was a warrior King leading an army of men who, like himself, were bold in their willingness to confront the enemy. After David became the King, he secured the country of Israel and its borders. His reign was one of great strength. When contemplating the coming Messiah, the expectation of the people of God was that God would send another deliverer to break the power of the giants who had them bound. For the people of Jesus’ time, this would mean deliverance from the Roman Empire that controlled most of the known world.
When Jesus began His ministry with the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, they certainly believed that Kingdom was representative of the country of Israel. They had good reason to believe this, because that is how it was represented to them throughout the Old Testament times. It was built upon the oath that God had made with their father Abraham. What they did not understand was that God had a plan much bigger than they could comprehend. His intention was never to be the God of one nation, but the God of the whole earth. For the contemporaries of Jesus Christ, His message of the Kingdom was incomprehensible. Their lack of comprehension was not an intellectual shortcoming, but a condition of their heart. Jesus said, “You draw near me with your lips, but your heart is far from me.” To this day, God still wants our hearts!
Motivation Is Greater Than Intentions
The kingdom Jesus was promoting was a Kingdom that would “not come with observation, but would arise in the hearts of men.” The Jewish nation wanted to take control of their situation, but God wanted their hearts. Even the disciples had a hard time comprehending the reality of the Kingdom of God. One day, Jesus began to instruct His disciples about His coming suffering and death on the cross. Peter, who loved Jesus dearly, took Him aside and rebuked Him letting Him know these things would not happen if he was around. Jesus came back with a strong rebuke: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Peter had good intentions, but the wrong motivation. This is a very important consideration for this season in time, as we are living in strategic times for the earth and the Kingdom of God.
It has been, and will always be, God’s desire to have mankind as an integral part of His eternal purpose. For this to happen, we must mature to a higher level in God. As a parent, I was always mindful of my children when they were little. I loved my children dearly and would have always considered their intentions. I would reward their good intentions to reinforce their significance. As our children grow, we must make them understand that in the real world, good intentions are not always rewarded. Our intentions must be supported with knowledge and understanding. If we do not teach our children this as they mature, life will be a big disappointment for them.
In the Kingdom of God, we must understand that motivation is more important than intentions. Intention is the state of mind we have directing our actions, while motivation is the root cause behind the intention. Peter thought he needed to protect Jesus. His intention was based on love, so it seemed good; yet, he became a tool of the enemy. This can seem so strange to us, as we would assume that Jesus would appreciate the effort given. Yet, under the direction of His Father, Jesus was motivated by the Kingdom and His purpose. Those of us who observe this story can see the obvious reason that Jesus would not allow Peter’s “good intentions.” However, oftentimes, we do not have insight into our future, so it requires us to trust God—even when it seems our “good intentions” have not been received, or rewarded, by God…or even people. Peter would never fully understand the reason for his “rebuke,” until the finality of Jesus’ journey.
This is a time of a great awakening! Isaiah declared it, and I know it is the word for today also, “Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean Shall no longer come to you. Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Jerusalem! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion!” (Isaiah 52:1-2) Many people have been through difficult times, and you have things you are holding onto from your experience. Some of those things are with people, while others concern your attitude towards God. Will you put your trust in God as never before? It is time to take a step beyond your feelings—shake it off, the best is yet to come.
God’s plan for you is bigger than you could possibly think!