Kingdom Now

Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.”

He went on to say to his disciples, “The days are coming when you are going to be desperately homesick for just a glimpse of one of the days of the Son of Man, and you won’t see a thing. And they’ll say to you, ‘Look over there!’ or, ‘Look here!’ Don’t fall for any of that nonsense. The arrival of the Son of Man is not something you go out to see. He simply comes.

“You know how the whole sky lights up from a single flash of lightning? That’s how it will be on the Day of the Son of Man. But first it’s necessary that he suffer many things and be turned down by the people of today. (Luke 17:20-25)

People look for God in all the wrong places. When Jesus announced that the kingdom of God was at hand, he really meant it. He wasn’t speaking metaphorically, he didn’t mean that it was “soon” in the sense that for God a thousand years is like a day, so that “soon” could be a really, really long time as far as mere mortals were concerned. Jesus was very clear with the Pharisees: he told them that the kingdom of God had arrived. It was right here, right now.

The Pharisees and for that matter, Jesus’ disciples and the bulk of the Jewish population thought that the kingdom of God was a physical kingdom. They believed that when the Messiah arrived, he would raise an army, defeat the Romans, and sit down on David’s throne in Jerusalem, replacing Caesar, and making the world a perfectly wonderful place. They thought they would all live happily ever after—well, except for the sinners—and the Pharisees had a list of who those were—who would all die miserably.

Jesus explained that they all—from the Pharisees to his own disciples—simply didn’t get it.

God’s kingdom wouldn’t be like the Roman Empire at all. The kingdom of God existed in the hearts and minds of those who believed the Gospel. It wasn’t physical, even though it did have real world implications that would be as obvious as a flash of lightning.

Send to Kindle

About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
This entry was posted in Bible, Religion, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *