the Violent take it by Force

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence,
and the violent take it by force. [Matthew 11:12 ESV]

Things changed when John appeared preaching. His ministry was unconventional and not commissioned or sanctioned by the religious leaders. He did not look or act like one of those leaders. He preached outside of town instead of in a synagogue. Yet the heavenly kingdom began to advance. With passion.

The Greek word biastés, translated here as "the violent", can also be rendered "one who is eager in pursuit". That captures for me the essence of what Jesus is saying in this verse. People were being transformed by John's ministry. Instead of observers they were becoming people in eager pursuit of God.

Lord, we ask today for a divine eagerness that would compel us in our service to you and your world.

... this devotion is part of a series about John the Baptist.

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