Well, I’m back from vacation. And straight into one of the more difficult passages to interpret.
The Pharisees came to Jesus asking when God’s kingdom would come. I’m not sure what they meant by that, but perhaps they were saying, “Are you the Messiah or not? If you are, prove it!”
But Jesus, as usual refused to give any signs to prove himself to his critics. Instead, he 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. (20-21)
That last part is perhaps better translated, “The kingdom of God is among you.” It’s hard to believe that he was saying the kingdom of God was actually in the hearts of these men who had rejected Jesus.
What was he saying? I think he was saying, “You guys are so intent on looking for signs of God’s kingdom coming, that you can’t see God’s kingdom when it’s staring you in the face.”
In other words, “The King is here. He’s doing the work of the kingdom right in your very midst. And yet you ask for signs for the coming of the kingdom?”
The Pharisees were blind to what God was doing. The question is, are you? God is working the hearts of the people around you. He wants to change their lives. More than that, he wants to use you to effect that change. But are you so wrapped up with your own life that you can’t see it?
Or are you so wrapped up searching through prophesy to determine when Jesus is coming back that you can’t see what he is doing right here and now?
Prophesy is important. But if we focus on it to the point that it blinds us to what God is doing around us, then we’ve lost perspective, and we become ineffective for his kingdom.
How about you? Are you seeing what God’s doing in the lives of those around you?