I asked Rudy Ross to carry the load of interpreting Luke 17.20-30. Rudy has spent years studying what is often called the “End Times.”
I believe Rudy has a good grasp of what we can know about future events on God’s calendar. I hope you will take 10 minutes to listen to our discussion on YouTube.
For today’s blog, I want to write about verses 20-21.
The Kingdom “Among” You
Jesus’ teaching about God’s kingdom began with a question from the Pharisees.
— Luke 17.20-21 – Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed;
“Nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”
The first thing we can say about the kingdom of God is that Jesus inaugurated the kingdom with the advent of his ministry.
Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1.15).
To say “the kingdom of God is among you” and to say it has “come near” is the same thing.
Response to the Kingdom
If you are old enough, you can recall the “pigeon holes” behind the reception desk in a hotel. Room keys, notices, and mail filled the pigeon holes, one for each room.
For some people, their experience of God’s kingdom is like one of “pigeon holes.”
Other “pigeon holes” include such things as family, finances, work, play, status, material possessions, and the like.
The kingdom of God may include attending worship services, giving money, prayer and being good.
When Jesus declared the presence of God’s kingdom, he identified repentance as the appropriate response to the good news of its existence.
The reality of God’s kingdom was to influence all of the various “pigeon holes” of life, not just one or two.
The challenge to humans is to realize that the kingdom of God is “among” us and to make the necessary adjustments.
In the light of the presence of God’s kingdom, Jesus counseled his followers to adopt a particular way of life.
— Matthew 6.33 – “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Instead of worrying about all of the other “pigeon holes” of our lives, Jesus said that we should align our lives with the reality of God’s kingdom.
If we do this, God will take care of the rest.
The Kingdom “Within” You
If you read the King James Version of the Bible, you will notice that the translation of verse 21 is “the kingdom of God is within you.”
The key Greek word in this passage can be translated “among” or “within.” Translators have to choose between the two words and that is why there are variations in the translation.
When writing blog articles, I have the luxury of using both words in my explanation.
The kingdom of God is “within” followers of Jesus, because the Holy Spirit resides within us.
One significant promise concerning the Holy Spirit is “I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live” (Ezekiel 37.14).
John the Baptist preached, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3.11).
On the Day of Pentecost, the promises of the Prophets and John the Baptist were fully fulfilled, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2.4).
Rudy Ross frequently reminds listeners to our videos that the veil in the Temple that separated the Most Holy Place from the rest of the Temple structure was torn in two (see Matthew 27.51).
The Most Holy Place was the location where God met his divine representative one day each year. The opening of the veil signified God’s accessibility to all.
All of this goes to say that if we want to engage in the kingdom of God, it can be accessed by connecting with the Holy Spirit who resides within the inner self of Jesus’ followers.
Both “Among” and “Within”
We don’t have to choose between the two possible meanings of the Greek word in verse 21.
We can seek the kingdom of God by aligning our attitudes and actions with those of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit who resides within us, will guide us and empower us to live as citizens of God’s kingdom.
If we follow Dallas Willard encouragement to live a Jesus-kind-of-life, we will experience the kingdom of God “within” us and “among” us.
I encourage you to listen to today’s YouTube video. Rudy Ross examines a significant portion of Scripture that answers the question about the coming of God’s kingdom.
The YouTube video can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.
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