On this occasion Jesus answered the questions of critics who condemned His generosity with former sinners. His readiness to forgive and lift the fallen to places of new possibilities infuriated them. He referred them to an era, a new time that began with John the Baptist’s call to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matt. 3:2, NKJV). Jesus went on to say that from that time forward, and to this day, people who choose God’s rule for their lives must press into it. The figure of speech is one which indicates earnestness and urgency.
Entering into the dimension of God’s life and grace isn’t a casual matter. In likening this “entry” to the agony of birth (John 3:3), Jesus is emphasizing our full attention and commitment.
The “keys of the kingdom” (Matt. 16:19), meaning access to and functioning in the kingdom, are capacities promised to everyone who calls Jesus the Lord of their life. As we submit to His rule in our lives, Jesus responds, with characteristic grace and generosity, by fully sharing His power and His authority with us.
It’s an overwhelming concept: His sovereign power invites our partnership as joint-heirs with Him (Rom. 8:16, 17). Let’s keep growing in this grace!