[image: Cowboy Hat, revised, 2010, JA Van Devender]
Luke 16:16 (NKJV)
16 “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.
I suppose if there is any phenomenon dramatically different in today's world than when Jesus spoke these words, it is that of being able to say "everyone is pressing into" the Kingdom of God.
Sometimes I will see scenes of people lined up for blocks waiting to press into an Apple store to get the next version of the I-Phone. Nike released a new Michael Jordon shoe during the Christmas shopping orgy and people were assaulted as they tried to make it to the check out counter. I am pretty contemptuous of that type of materialistic enthusiasm and passion, but I cannot help but admit that such is the image Jesus portrays about how people were pressing into the Kingdom in His day.
And... quite frankly... such ought to be the case now. "The law and the prophets were until John..." He said. John marked a turning point... a decided transition... an opening door... in the progress of history. Prior to John God's gracious Word was given to man and opened up his eyes to the glory, majesty and grace of God. It was, in its time, magnificent beyond imagining... it was God's gift of revelation comprised under the two heads, the books of the Law and the books of the prophets. They contained the Old Testament Gospel... not a different gospel at all but the same gospel of salvation by grace through faith... but in God's providential ordering it was only a down-payment on what was to come.
John came and finished out that dispensation. He came and pointed toward the One who was to come whose Gospel would fill out... fill in... expand.... bring to overflowing ... all that was implicit in the previous Word while not abrogating that which was explicit. Jesus made this last point powerfully clear in the very next verse after those presented above when He said that not one "tittle" of the Law can possibly fail.
But this "new" Gospel which was not "new-new" but "new-expanded", was so powerful as to be hungrily received. It was far better than a new I-Phone and infinitely better than a pair of shoes. So the Kingdom of God was opened and people pressed into it.
How I long to see that phenomenon today.
I don't understand, really, why they don't. I know, of course all, or virtually all, the theological reasons. I know about deadness in sins... about self-deluding minds... about the darkness of Satan's world and the iron-chains which bind people in it. I know those things... but as did Jesus in His day... I look at the world about me, with all its teeming hordes flocking to their destruction like so many lemmings, and I don't understand why they don't come and "buy without money" that which provides satisfaction that those material things can never bring.
There is a good reason why people pressed into the Kingdom in Jesus' day ... and why people have pressed into it through the ages... it's because Jesus is there. And where Jesus is, is life and light and peace and hope and fellowship and meaning and purpose. There is joy because He is beauty and transcending perfection. We love because He loves... but the experience of love is our own reward. In this Kingdom there are blue skies, warm sunshine and a place to hang your hat.
Our job is to proclaim this Kingdom and invite people to enter. It is not for us to beat them into it... it's not to slam the door shut in the faces of those that WE choose should not be counted "worthy" of it. It is, first and last, God's royal prerogative to draw people to Himself. I know, at the most important level, that it is His providence that determines the spiritual state of the masses at any given time. But I still wonder... how can they be so blind?
The road is narrow and few walk thereon... but it leads to all that matters and all that proves valuable and all that is possible. As in Jesus' day, sometimes the "few" can be relatively many. It's time for God's people to pray for a bountiful harvest... when the feast that has been set will have all the chairs around the table filled... and the Lord of the Harvest and the Head of the Table will sit down with His friends and bless them all with His bounty.