Luke 17 v 20 – 21 “Once having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ ‘ There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

Here are two distinctly different statements about the Kingdom of God. It was addressed to the Pharisees who had asked Jesus a question about when the kingdom of God would come. Jesus gives us two aspects of the coming kingdom which we would do well to remember.

The first thing Jesus says is the kingdom of God, or the rule of God, does not come visibly, as if you could say “here it is, or “there it is.” It does not come in an external, visible way, so there is no good looking out for it to come.

There will of course, be a day when the kingdom of God will indeed come visibly and every eye will see it. But what Jesus was saying to the Pharisees was that there was another sense in which the coming of the Kingdom must be understood. It is a prior way of understanding the kingdom. It is a way of understanding the kingdom that comes before any external signs or manifestations.

Before we mention this all important manifestation of the kingdom of God, it would be good for us to understand that in trying to understand the kingdom of God we need to remember that the entire reality of the kingdom of God is beyond us. It is such a vast concept and reality that it cannot be understood in just one way or with one set of words.

This aspect of God’s dealings with us often causes problems for us because we often find it hard to grasp certain biblical ideas mainly because we think in such final terms.

In other words there are aspects about God and His love which are not merely beyond us but also often do not fit into our categories of thinking. If God is love, we would say, he would care for us, heal us, provide for us etc. But He often does not appear to do that. We sometimes get sick, lose our jobs, have marriage problems or suffer disappointments. Does that mean God does not love us? His love is invisible, but still real all the same. Our problem is our own preconceived ideas about how it should operate.

So too with the Kingdom of God. It is not visible. We cannot see it. But we should be careful before we say “It does not exist.” If it does exist, where is it?

More tomorrow.