Daily Devotional: Day 199
“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21).
For several centuries, the Israelites were expecting the Messiah’s arrival. However, they didn’t have the same kind of expectations. Many, especially the religious leadership, expected the Messiah to be a political leader who would establish a physical kingdom and redeem Israel from their political enemies. This will explain why when Herod heard about the birth of Jesus, he panicked – supposing that Jesus would come for his throne (cf. Matthew 2:1-3). Others, however, had more spiritual and religious expectations.
In today’s Bible passage, the Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. He responds by stating that the kingdom of God does not come with observation. It’s not ‘here!’ or ‘there!’ In other words, God’s kingdom has no geographical parameters. You will see the effects of the kingdom, but the kingdom has no physical structures. It cannot be identified with any nation, kingdom or system in the world.
The kingdom of God spreads its influence through righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (cf. Romans 14:17) manifested by believers – children of the kingdom. When Jesus stood before Pilate, He minced no words about the nature of His kingdom, “My kingdom is not of this world” (cf. Matthew 18:36), He declared. Speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus added, “the kingdom of God is within you.” To most Israelites of His day, Jesus’ definition of the kingdom was disappointing and unsatisfactory. They expected a Messiah who would give them something more than an invisible kingdom. The kind of ‘kingdom’ Jesus offered wasn’t good enough. No wonder the majority rejected Him.
For us today, Jesus’ message about the kingdom is no different. He wants us to have the right expectations and knowledge about how the kingdom of God works. Jesus says that the kingdom of God is within us. That makes us special people endowed with supernatural and royal power. It would, therefore, be a mistake for Christians to seek God’s kingdom in the physical world and its systems.
It would further be erroneous to look for God’s kingdom in a physical location, including even the church building. God does not dwell in a temple made with human hands (cf. Acts 7:47-50). Jesus is not in a room, box or tabernacle made with human hands. Rather, He lives in us. His presence, His power and His Kingdom, is within us who make up the Body of Christ. We don’t need to look far for deliverance. Let’s learn – through faith – to recognize Jesus’ power, grace and deliverance at work within us. And let’s spread the influence of His kingdom wherever we go.
God bless you!
For further study: 1 Peter 2:1-10