Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed;nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you will not see it.And they will say to you, ‘Lo, there!’ or ‘Lo, here!’ Do not go, do not follow them.For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day. But first, he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man.They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.Likewise, as it was in the days of Lot—they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulphur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed.On that day, let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back.Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left.”
And they said to him, “Where, Lord?”
He said to them, “Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”Luke 10:20-37
To Seek and to Save
For this Lenten reflection on Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, Dr Ferguson invites us to watch as a Pharisee asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God was coming.
What is the Kingdom of God? If you have ever had to ask this question, don’t worry. You’re not the first to ask it and you won’t be the last either. Even the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were forced to ask questions about it and so were Jesus’ disciples. And perhaps the question most people ask is, “When is the kingdom coming?”
It would seem that the Pharisees believed that when the kingdom of God came – whatever it might be – it would be preceded by spectacular signs and wonders. But Jesus says no. It seems they also thought there would be plenty of people running around saying, “It’s coming here!” or “It’s coming now!” But Jesus says no to this too. Instead, He told the Pharisees and His disciples that the Kingdom of God was already in their midst. Don’t be fooled, He warned them; and be ready!
If you’ve ever read this passage in the King James Version, it says that the kingdom of God was within the Pharisees and the disciples. But that’s misleading. The Kingdom doesn’t enter us. We have to enter the Kingdom. Remember what Jesus had already told Nicodemus the Pharisee: without spiritual rebirth, it was impossible even to see the Kingdom of God, let alone enter it (John 3:3, 5).
So, what did Jesus mean when He told the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God was in their midst? How was this possible? It was possible because Jesus is the King of that Kingdom, and His Kingdom is wherever He reigns.
Sometimes, people talk about the now and not yet of the Kingdom of God. It is both present now because King Jesus has entered the world, and it is yet still to come because Jesus is to return to claim His kingdom in all His glory. As Dr Ferguson reminds us, “Then ‘the kingdom of the world (will) become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ’(Revelation 11:15).”
So, how do we enter this kingdom? By subjecting ourselves to Christ and receiving His pardon for our sins. In this way, we claim the right to pray with Christians the world over, “Your Kingdom come! Your will be done!”