God's Kingdom Now

Text: Luke 17:20-21
20 Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; 21nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.’ (NRSV)

I used to get confused about the “kingdom of God” and “the end times” and often thought of them as the same thing.  I thought that the kingdom of God would either come when Jesus returned, or we would find ourselves in the kingdom of God when we died and entered our eternal home in God’s presence.

I actually still think that both of those things are true, but now I also understand that Jesus continually talked about the kingdom of God being “among [us]” now.  You see, what I have learned is that the kingdom of God is wherever God’s rule and reign are taking place.  It will certainly be in full force when Jesus returns and it will certainly be in full force when we are in God’s presence at the end of our physical life, but it is also present when we live our lives as Jesus has taught us to live.

When grace, forgiveness, love, hope, mercy, justice, equality, peace, and righteousness are being lived out, the kingdom of God is fully present in those moments.  Jesus, in today’s text, is telling the Pharisees that “the kingdom of God is among you,” because Jesus was among them.  And Jesus’ life was always lived out in obedience to “Kingdom Life,” and therefore, the kingdom of God was always present where Jesus was.

I believe that the Kingdom of God is also present when the people of God are living out the Kingdom Life on earth now.  We don’t always, or maybe even often, get it right but, when the Church is at its best and/or the individuals who make up the church are at their best, the Kingdom of God is present in those moments as well.

Pray with me:

God of love and God of righteousness fill your Church with your Holy Spirit that your Church might be the Kingdom of God on earth as we wait for the second coming of Jesus to bring about the full force of your kingdom.  Fill me too with your Holy Spirit that I might live in ways that brings your kingdom to bear in my relationship with others.  AMEN.

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