Kingdom of the Broken
Matthew 21:31 Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.
Jesus’ words were, at times, offensive. The chief priests and leaders of the temple came to him to challenge his authority and He responded in a manner that must have cut them to the bone. He told them a parable of two sons, whose father asked them both to work in his vineyard. One son said He would obey but then did not go. The other son refused the father’s request but then later repented and obeyed.
Jesus pointed out that the one who followed the father was not the one who said the right words, but the one who actually went to work in the vineyard. He did not stop there however. Jesus told these priests that they were the imposters and that the tax collectors and prostitutes, though they had initially fallen, were the real followers of God.
The chief priests thought their pedigree and words would get them to God, but Jesus insisted they were hypocrites. They followed in word and ceremony only and that was not enough. The prostitutes and tax collectors however, knew how broken they were. They knew exactly how much they needed God and in their desperate need, they turned desperately to God, obeying him.
I have found this to be true in my own life. I cannot say that I am proud of the destruction I caused in my addiction. I am sure the prostitute was not proud of her life. I am however, very thankful for my desperate need, for it was only in my desperate need that I became desperate for God.
It was not until I saw my utter depravity and defect that I was willing to commit to abandoning self and following God. God had to use my addiction to get me to the point where I could finally say, Enough. I am a broken mess. I will daily do whatever it takes to abandon self and follow you.
Jesus was not, of course, endorsing prostitution or drug addiction. When He encountered those caught in their destruction, He loved them and bid them to abandon their destruction. He did not shy away though, from those whom the world considered to be defective. Jesus embraced those who knew their need and in fact said that those were the exact people for whom He came to Earth.
He said his kingdom is not going to be made up of perfect people. His kingdom is going to be of and for those who know they are broken. The reality of course, is that we are all broken and that we all need God. Jesus said the ones who can see and accept their brokenness are, in the end, more fortunate.
It is those who know they are sick that seek a doctor. It is only the broken who seek the fixer. It is only in being honest about my constant need that I constantly follow God.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful or interesting, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and share it on Facebook.