THE KINGDOM IS IN THEIR MIDST
WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE WHEN JESUS IS REVEALED?
Jesus is still either in Samaria or in Galilee. Pharisees now ask him about the arrival of the Kingdom, which they expect to be with pomp and ceremony. However, he says: “The Kingdom of God is not coming with striking observableness; nor will people say, ‘See here!’ or, ‘There!’ For look! the Kingdom of God is in your midst.”
Some may conclude that Jesus is saying that the Kingdom reigns in the hearts of God’s servants. However, that cannot be the case, for the Kingdom is not in the hearts of the Pharisees to whom Jesus is speaking. Yet, it is in their midst because the chosen King of God’s Kingdom, Jesus, is right there among them.
Likely after the Pharisees leave, Jesus provides additional details for his disciples about the coming of the Kingdom. As to his presence in Kingdom power, he first warns: “Days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, but you will not see it.” (Luke 17:22) Jesus is indicating that the reign of the Son of man in the Kingdom is to be in the future. Before that time arrives, some disciples might anxiously look for it, but they will have to continue waiting until it is God’s appointed time for the Son of man to come.
Jesus continues: “People will say to you, ‘See there!’ or, ‘See here!’ Do not go out or chase after them. For just as lightning flashes from one part of heaven to another part of heaven, so the Son of man will be in his day.” (Luke 17:23, 24) How will Jesus’ disciples be protected against chasing after false messiahs? Jesus says that the coming of the true Messiah will be as lightning seen over a wide area. The evidence of his presence in Kingdom power will be clearly visible to all observant onlookers.
Then Jesus makes comparisons with ancient events to show what the attitudes of people will be during that future period: “Just as it occurred in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of man . . . Likewise, just as it occurred in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building. But on the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be the same on that day when the Son of man is revealed.”
Jesus is not saying that people in Noah’s day and in Lot’s day were destroyed because they pursued the normal activities of eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, and building. Noah and Lot and their families did at least some of those things. But the other people were doing so without paying any attention to God’s will and were ignoring the time in which they lived. Hence, Jesus is admonishing his disciples to pay attention to God’s will and to be actively involved in doing it. He is thus showing them the way to be preserved
The disciples will need to avoid becoming distracted by the things of the world around them, “the things behind.” Jesus says: “On that day let the person who is on the housetop but whose belongings are in the house not come down to pick these up, and likewise, the person out in the field must not return to the things behind. Remember the wife of Lot.” (Luke 17:31, 32) She became a pillar of salt.
Continuing his description of the situation existing when the Son of man will reign as King, Jesus tells his disciples: “In that night two people will be in one bed; the one will be taken along, but the other will be abandoned.” (Luke 17:34) So some will gain salvation, but others will be abandoned, losing their life.
The disciples ask: “Where, Lord?” Jesus responds: “Where the body is, there also the eagles will be gathered together.” (Luke 17:37) Yes, some will be like farsighted eagles. These disciples will gather to the true Christ, the Son of man. At that future time, Jesus will provide his disciples with lifesaving truth for those having faith.
What does the Bible mean when it says that “the kingdom of God is within you”?