Archive for August 4th, 2008

God’s Kingdom, Now and Forever

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Luke 17:20-37 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Keith Phillips):

The kingdom of God, where is it? And when will it come? That’s what the Pharisees wanted to know. So Jesus tells them that they don’t have to look for the kingdom because it’s already here: “For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” Jesus was making an amazing, radical statement, that where he is, there is the reign of God.

But if the Risen Lord is in our midst and God’s reign is here and now, is this the best God can do? After talking to the Pharisees,  Jesus turns to the disciples and elaborates on the fullness of God’s reign at some future time. Jesus says that its coming  will be obvious to everyone, that it will come while all of us are about the routine business of life, that it will come swiftly, and that its coming will separate humanity. (I can’t resist encouraging LGBT people to read verse 34 in the King James Version.)

Jesus is saying, “When I am with you, it is good; it is very good. You have the abundant life now. But a time will come when it’s even better. There will be peace, and justice, and freedom, and joy, and love beyond measure. But you need to be ready, to have made the decision to want to be with me as much as I want to be with you.”

In ancient China there was a mean little boy who found a crippled bird by the side of the road. He grabbed it up and went to the wisest person in the village. Putting the bird behind his back, he taunted, “Is the bird behind my back dead or alive?” The sage, knowing the character of the boy, realized that by saying, “It is alive,” the boy would squeeze the life from the bird just to show the stupidity of the wisest person in the village. So instead, the sage responded, “It is as you would have it.”

And so it is for us. The decision to be Jesus’ disciple, to be in the kingdom which gives to us life now and forever, is in our hands. Life or death, it’s all up to us, right now.

Thought for the day: Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ is here now, and Christ will come again. Alleluia!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading.  If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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