Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Kingdom in our Midst

The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21b).

Luke now turns our attention to the coming of the kingdom of God. He tells us that on one occasion the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom would come. Jesus said that as carefully as we might study the coming of the kingdom, we cannot see it because it is within us. Jesus was saying that the kingdom does not come in a dramatic fashion; rather, the kingdom enters quietly.

Verse 21 is one of the most misinterpreted verses in the New Testament. It is grammatically proper to translate the verse, “The kingdom of God is within you.” It is equally valid, however, to translate it, “The kingdom of God is in your midst,” which in context is more accurate.

To interpret this verse, as many do, to mean that the kingdom of God is only in the hearts of people is a mistake. God’s kingdom influences every area of life. Moreover, at this point in His discussion with the Pharisees, Jesus was discussing history, not theology. The kingdom of God was in their midst because the King was in their midst.

Jesus continued by telling His disciples that soon they would be looking for the coming of the kingdom but would not see it, and there would be men making false claims about His return. He explained that His return would be as “lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky” (v. 24).

Jesus’ second coming will not be like His first, which was relatively quiet. Then, only those whose eyes were fixed upon God recognized the presence of His Son. The Second Coming, however, will make itself known with bolts of lightning. No one will miss it. The kingdom comes quietly because it comes wherever Jesus is. When the King returns to the kingdom at the end, however, it will be anything but quiet.

Since Jesus resides in our hearts, in one sense the kingdom of God is within us. What are some of other expressions of the kingdom in our midst? Think particularly of the ministries of the church. How can you maximize your exposure to the King and live to the fullest extent in the kingdom?