The kingdom is here already – 21 September 2022
By Ben Fourie
The Coming of the Kingdom
The Pharisees were the religious elite. They studied Scripture and made many rules that affected the religious lives of the Jews. They kept a strict eye on people to make sure that everyone kept the Jewish religious laws. One of the most relevant theological issues of the time was the coming of the kingdom of God, with much speculation on when it would happen. With this question about the coming of the kingdom, the Pharisees put into words the hopes they had for the coming of the Messiah. This hope that the Messiah would come soon, was closely related to the hope to throw off the Roman yoke, so that Israel could become an autonomous kingdom again.
Although we cannot know this with certainty, it seems possible that the Pharisees did regard Jesus as some kind of a prophet, for they asked his opinion on the time that the kingdom would come. They wanted to know his ideas on this matter and what he regarded as signs that the kingdom was near. In all this, they never contemplated the possibility that he may be the Messiah himself. He did not fit into their idea of how the Messiah should look and act.
The answer Jesus gave them had two main points. In the first place, he pointed out that the kingdom of God does not come with visible signs. One can also translate this as, “it is not easy to predict when this will happen”. Secondly, Jesus told them that because they are so concerned with signs and observations, they missed the most important point, namely, “the kingdom of God is within you”. By this, Jesus wanted them to understand that the kingdom of God is something in our hearts.
Many people still think of the kingdom of God as something happening in the world, something that needs to be confirmed by signs and big events. However, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, it is already part of every believer’s daily life.
Prayer: Father, we thank you that your kingdom is not from this world, with its hustle and bustle, but it is something that lives in our hearts. Amen