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Nestled in Luke 17:20-21 is a most profound statement regarding the kingdom of God. Jesus has been saying that the Kingdom is near and the kingdom is here, and now He is saying that the kingdom is much more than that:
Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is in your midst."
When Jesus is asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He makes it clear that the kingdom is not a visible, physical, political kingdom that can be observed, but it is invisible. It’s invisible because the kingdom of God is among you. Some translate this phrase within you.
There are three primary observations here worth noting. FIRST—Jesus is not speaking to His disciples, but to the Pharisees. This alone blows my mind. How can Jesus make this statement that the kingdom of God is among them?
SECOND—The kingdom of God cannot be seen. It is something invisible rather than visible. You won’t be able to point to it at some location.
THIRD—The kingdom of God is among y’all right here and now. It is in your midst. It is right here for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see.
Here’s how I am able to tie all three of these observations together to make sense out of this encounter:
I take this back to our understanding that Jesus created all things and holds everything together. He is the glue that holds each cell together and without Him we would split apart. Since Jesus created our cells and holds them together, then He is the rightful authority over our tissues and cells. He is the king of kings. He is the ruler over all of us. We now have a choice. We can acknowledge that Jesus is the king and bow to His Kingship and Kingdom or we can ignore it and live our lives as if He isn’t king at all.
Therefore, when Jesus says that the kingdom of God is among y’all, He is laying claim on His kingdom IF WE WILL ONLY ACKNOWLEDGE HIM AS KING. So, thinking in this way, even the Pharisees could respond to His original creation and His present work of holding us together. If they were to bow to Him as King, then they would enter into the kingdom of God and His presence immediately.
Just this morning we met with a couple whose hearts have been captured by the needs of a family in Africa. They are following their hearts and doing everything they can think of to support this young family of seven. In the process of moving in compassion toward meeting the needs of this dear impoverished family, they are ministering to Jesus personally. You know, when He said, “When you feed the poorest of the poor, you are feeding Me.” Now, as this non-churched couple moves according to the principles of the kingdom of God, God is bringing all sorts of connections with just the right person to open the next door or to solve the next problem. It is absolutely amazing to watch. You see, when you step out and follow the kingdom principles, you will be led directly to Jesus, Himself. To hear them acknowledge God’s assistance and miracles they are experiencing was a wonderful thing.
As they follow their hearts in this effort to do good toward the poorest of the poor, they are going to continually encounter Jesus. And, soon they will be able to see Jesus has orchestrated the entire plan, just so He could bring them to Himself.
Yes, the Kingdom of God is near, it is here and it is among us right now. What Jesus wants is for us to walk in the kingdom lifestyle right where we are. And, He will show Himself to us as we progress along this journey.
You see, we haven’t rejected the kingdom of God, but we tend to reduce it. We reduce it to a future place and time. We reduce it to a mystical kingdom concept that we can’t define or experience. We reduce it to our local church. Or, we reduce it to a social welfare project in an area of need.
The kingdom of God is all-consuming. The kingdom is wherever the king is and wherever He reigns. And, as we learn to practice the presence of Jesus in our lives, no matter what we’re doing, we are living in the kingdom of God right now. There is nothing more magical—nothing more joyous and nothing that offers more freedom that living our lives according to the kingdom of God. It’s here! Submit your life to the king and learn to enjoy the kingdom lifestyle for yourself.
Monday, March 05, 2007
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