Kingdom Coming Soon!

I've been chewing on a verse this week that ultimately gives me great joy and peace when I truly consider its truths.  It's a verse that might confuse those who don't apply it in its greater context.  That's why I want to encourage you to study this passage further after reading my thoughts.

Jesus says in Luke 17:21, "nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."

Some versions of the bible (i.e. the KJV) actually say, "the kingdom of God is within you".  At first glance, it is easy to simply interpret this statement as meaning the Kingdom of God resides in our hearts.  However, looking at the greater context and whole of scripture, we know that is not completely true.  Jesus himself, as he prays the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:10 says, "your kingdom come."

Clearly, Jesus realized that the kingdom had not completely come yet.  So, is this a contradiction?  How are we to understand Christ's words?

The reality is that the kingdom of God encompasses all of God's reign.  When Jesus said the words recorded in Luke 17:21, he was not telling the Pharisees that the kingdom was in their hearts.  Their hearts were far from God!  He was explaining that God's sovereign action to redeem and deliver people was happening right in front of them.  God was ruling in the hearts of people, and the King (Jesus) was standing right in front of them. 

Fast forward to today....we know that there is still a future time where God will finish His work and renew people and the universe completely.  So the fullness of the kingdom is still to be realized.


As a person navigating this world of ours in 2017, it can be tempting to lose hope and dread the future.  As a believer, we can appeal to our future hope to be realized in glory with God the Father.  But even Christ-followers can easily look at that as an event "far, far away" and lose hope in this present day.  The truth is, God's reign is happening right now.  He is ruling in the hearts of many people around the world, so His Kingdom is already at work.  I believe we catch small glimpses of what it will be like through things like corporate worship, God's creation, and witnessing God's redeeming work.  Think of the excitement you get when you catch small glimpses of an upcoming movie you desire to see!  For me, I was excited to see the new Star Wars trailer this past Monday, because it gave me a look into something that I haven't fully seen yet, but desire to see.

I believe God intends for his followers to live in such a way where they have the confidence that He is already at work and ruling, but with the anticipation of the greater things to come.  Its about looking at God's kingdom as something eternal---happening now---rather than just happening later.  I rest easier, remembering that God is at the controls.  As crazy as this world gets, God's rule will not be denied.