The Kingdom Within and Without

Scripture text: Luke 17:20-37

20 Once, on being 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, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”[a]

22 Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.23 People will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. 24 For the Son of Man in his day[b] will be like the lightning,which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife! 33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” [36] [c]

37 “Where, Lord?” they asked.

He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”

I suppose it is human nature that we always seem to want to know “When?  Where?  How?”

It was the same for those who first heard, and followed, Jesus.

When was the kingdom coming?  How would they know it for sure?  What would it be like?

Jesus answered them – but in a way that probably left some of them scratching their heads?  They might well said, “What is this strange rabbi talking about?  He is talking about a kingdom within – but then he talks about it crashing upon us in the most unexpected of ways.  What does he mean about the vultures gathering?”

One after another – the questions come.

Is it really so surprising though?  The kingdom is, in many ways, a mystery.  It is both internal – and external.  It is personal – and communal.  It is about the Lord coming to us in the most intimate of ways – and to the whole world as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

As we ponder these things – especially during the season of Lent – perhaps it would be best if we do not get too bogged down with questions and instead, in faith, trust that however the kingdom comes – it will be glorious – and we want to be a part of it.

So, as the early church said, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.”

Come into our lives, however, whenever, you will.


Categories future of the Church, God's answer to our seeking Him, God's kingdom, Hope, Jesus, Uncategorized

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