Luke 17 verses 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,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
While the Pharisees spent much time searching for clues as to where the Kingdom of God was located, Jesus tells them there is another way of thinking about the Kingdom.
The Kingdom of God, says Jesus is within you, or among you. This was amazing to Jesus’ listeners because they associated the Kingdom of God with armies, battles, honour and noise. But no, says Jesus, the world of the Kingdom is multifaceted; it goes on its powerful way often unnoticed.
What does it mean to have the Kingdom among you? Well, the silent work of the Kingdom of God is first and foremost in the hearts of all true believers. So, while others may look for marching armies, God is quietly changing hearts. Love is replacing hatred, reconciliation is replacing rejection, and kindness is replacing the strict codes of separation by which the Pharisees lived their lives.
There are no marching armies to announce the victories of love, forgiveness, acceptance, generosity etc. The world does not place such a high value on these things. But these matters are the very hallmarks of the Kingdom of God.
These people were actually looking at the very King of that great Kingdom but they did not recognise him. It’s not like they were short of signs to prove who Jesus was. He had in fact done many signs. But signs are only pointers. Actually realising who Jesus was – God’s Messiah, was then and remains today a matter of inner revelation and spiritual sight. And the giving of such sight and understanding is precisely the work of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom dynamic starts with the process of understanding, repentance, faith in Jesus and a spiritual rebirth. This is all brought about by that amazing and wonderful agent of the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit, whose activity is as invisible as the wind (John 3 verses 3-8).
What the Pharisees needed was to focus on who stood before them and not on questions about the future of the Kingdom of God.
Let us remember that the Holy Spirit is always at work and even when it seems to us that nothing much is happening, the Kingdom of God is often claiming unseen victories in the lives of people, many of whom, we would not have suspected.
Later on, when some fruit of the Kingdom is manifested we realise that we should not have been so quick to judge. Remember we worship an unseen God, doing an unseen work by the unseen Spirit, to grow the unseen Kingdom, which will one day be visible and bring great glory to His name.
Remember too, that he works in us in the same way. Let us not get discouraged.