Considering what the Jewish people expected the coming Kingdom of God to be, I just re-read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 through 7).
The people expected the Kingdom to make life easier. You know, throw off Roman rule. Live in a victorious, powerful, prosperous nation. No more taxes!
But here Jesus was telling them stuff that was harder than the rules and regulations they already had. Not only keep the law physically, now we have to keep it mentally?
If a Roman soldier tells us to go a mile, we have to go two?! If someone wants our coat, we have to give him our cloak too? And the law! No adultery, okay, that’s understandable. But now even looking was bad?
What struck me was how different Jesus’ description of Kingdom living was from theirs. Not easier, harder. Much harder.
So, what kept them from walking away then and there? Because they didn’t. They kept right on following Jesus. Hmmm.
Then I arrived at the account of the leper. And Peter’s mother-in-law. And all the “ALL’s and EVERY’s.” Read Matthew for yourself, and I think you’ll notice the same thing I did.