Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.” (Luke 17:20-25)
“The kingdom come; thy will be done.”
How many times have you or I prayed those words? Daily, throughout the world, Christians utter those words as part of the Lord’s Prayer.
We utter the words but do we truly accept them?
In today’s scripture, the Pharisees’ question on this matter was intended to test Jesus since they did not accept him as the Messiah. Jesus surprised them with the answer that the kingdom or reign of God was already here! Jesus spoke of the coming of God’s kingdom as both a present event and an event which would be manifested at the end of time.
A present event. Think about that.
The kingdom of God … is ‘not a thing.’ The Kingdom of God is God. The Kingdom of God means: God exists. God is alive. God is present and acts in the world God is not a faraway ‘ultimate cause,’ God is not the ‘great architect’ of deism, who created the machine of the world and is no longer part of it – on the contrary: God is the most present and decisive reality in each and every act of my life, in each and every moment of history.”
The kingdom has come to a person when God is truly God of each and every act of one’s life. The Kingdom of God is living within the matrix of the incarnate King of Kings.
Do you believe that? I do. Do you live your live as part of his kingdom? I try but fail often.
Jesus reminds us in today’s scripture that no one needed to wait to observe the kingdom because the kingdom had already come. Rather, they needed to know how to look for it.
Throughout the Gospel Jesus was giving us indications about how to recognize the kingdom as well as the conditions for entering it and living in it. He says that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are “poor in spirit,” to those who treasure God more than all the treasures of the world.
It belongs to those who convert and become like little children, who trust in God and accept it as a gift.
It is like a wedding banquet full of joy and those who live in the kingdom are those who are profoundly and serenely joyful.
It grows like a mustard seed or yeast, imperceptible to people on the outside but the growth is real.
It’s like a buried treasure or a pearl of great price, a net cast into the sea or a field with wheat and weeds. By each of these realities Jesus was indicating qualities of the Kingdom so that we would be able to perceive it.
Today is an occasion for us to ask whether we’re really living in that kingdom, whether God is the “most present and decisive reality in each and every act of my life.” At a practical level, do we look at politics, sports, snow storms, meals, familial relations, friendships, setbacks — in short, life — differently than others who do not know about nor live in the kingdom?
One of the most important ways we seek to live in the Kingdom is to unite ourselves with the King. When we allow Christ the Kingdom to establish his throne within us, so that the Kingdom of God may truly be within us. The Kingdom, as Jesus says, is not something that will be announced by pointing here and there, but for us as Christians is something that we are called to bear within.
It’s simple, folks. We are called to bear the kingdom within our lives. Anything that gets in the way of allowing that kingdom to be reflected in our lives must, and should be, expunged from our lives. Our inner thoughts, our outward actions and the words we speak all will tell whether we are living in His kingdom.
Begin today. We need to monitor your daily life and either admit to God that we accept His kingdom within or admit to ourselves that we choose to accept another kingdom.
That’s the test. That’s the reality.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus Christ, may your kingdom come and may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Be the Ruler of my heart and the Master of my life that I may always live in the freedom of your love and truth.”
In the Lord Jesus we see both the power and the glory of God’s kingdom. His divine power overthrew the powers of darkness (the kingdom of Satan and all who opposed God’s rule) and sin (which corrupts and enslaves the human mind, heart, and will to the forces of evil and wrongdoing). Jesus knew that the only way to victory was through the cross. On that cross he defeated death and canceled the debt of our sins. The victory of his cross opens the way for us to live as sons and daughters of God and citizens of his heavenly kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness (moral goodness). Is your hope and future securely anchored to God’s heavenly kingdom?