Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Luke 17:20-24

Luke 17:20-24
And after being asked by the Pharisee when the kingdom of God comes, He answered him and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation.  Neither will they say, ‘Behold!  Here it is!’ or ‘There!  Behold!’  For the kingdom of God is within you all.”  And He said to the disciples, “Days will come when you will desire to see one day of the Son of Man.  And you will not see it.  And they will say to you, ‘Behold, there it is!  Behold, here it is!’  You should neither depart nor follow after them.  But as lightning that lights, shining out of that which is under heaven into that which is also under heaven, in the same manner the Son of Man will be in His day.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Jesus gives us a really formidable teaching as this passage opens.  The kingdom of God does not come with observation.  What Jesus is saying is that the kingdom of God is not something that we will be able to see.  It’s not like Rome advancing upon Jerusalem.  Or to give a more modern context, it’s not like American westward expansion bringing western culture to the country.  However, if we think about it, this is often what people believe!  We wait for the kingdom of God to come.  We wait for God to overthrow our surroundings and create something new.  But that isn’t what Jesus is saying here!  In fact, if we go back to Jesus’ first message, we see that we have a consistent message.  What is it that Jesus says after His own baptism?  He says, “The kingdom of heaven has drawn near.”  In other words, the kingdom of heaven is already come!  We don’t need to wait for God to do more, He’s already at work!

When you think about the kingdom of heaven, what do you think?  Do you think of the kingdom of heaven as already being in your midst?

Second Thought:

What, then, is the kingdom of God?  Jesus answers this Himself.  The kingdom of God is within us.  When we are looking for the kingdom of God, we should look within.  What does God do within us?  We can love.  We can be in genuine relationship.  We can be gracious when the world around us is self-centered.  We can be kind when the world is self-serving.  We can be humble when the world is arrogant.  We can be generous when the world is greedy.  We can be forgiving when the world holds onto anger and grudges.  In other words, when we act in a godly way that is contrary to how the world would act, we are showing that the kingdom of heaven is already in our midst.

Where have you witnessed the kingdom of heaven in your life?  Where have you been able to reveal the kingdom of heaven within you?

Third Thought:

Jesus continues.  He warns us against following people who make predictions about seeing the kingdom of heaven coming.  Naturally, if the kingdom of heaven is something that is within each of us, we should immediately know that anyone who says that they see a tangible kingdom of God coming isn’t seeing things from a godly perspective.  In fact, Jesus says that in actuality we won’t see anything.  Who among us can see lightning coming?  No, we see lightning after it has already arced from one side of the sky into another side of the sky.  We see it after the fact.  The kingdom is something we see after it happens.  Again, this should really make sense.  If the kingdom of heaven is within us, we will see it in action, no be able to predict how we will put it into action.  However, this message also applies with respect to Jesus’ return.  Again, how will we predict His coming?  Do any of us know the mind of God?  No!  We will see it when it happens.  We might know it is drawing close, but just as we can never say where lightning will appear we’ll never guess exactly when He will return.

Have you ever heard people make predictions about the coming of Christ?  How does this passage speak to their refutation?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 17:25-30
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