11 November 2010

Luke 17:20-25

"The kingdom of God is among you." (v.21)


The faith of the first Christians was what we today call 'eschatological'. This means that they believed they were living in the midst of the last event of history, the final act in God's drama of redemption. They expected that these days would come to an end in the very near future when Christ would return in glory.

To appreciate this is to begin to understand today's reading, and why the Gospel-writer Luke wrote this way.

But in another sense, says Jesus, the kingdom of God has already come God's kingly power has been revealed in the person of Jesus himself and perhaps verse 21 means 'the kingdom of God is within you'. The Pharisees (the teachers of the Jewish Law) could not see this. As they had literally known Jesus in the flesh, how could they know anything about the kingdom in the future?

The disciples, on the other hand, had the discernment to see both 'comings'. They had accepted, and indeed been sent themselves to preach the present reality of the kingdom (Luke 9:210:9), so Jesus can now go on to tell them something about "the days of the Son of Man" (verse 22). This is the future event when he will return and the kingdom will come in its fullness.

To Ponder

In your opinion, how was God's kingly power revealed in Jesus?

What does it mean to you for Christ to return in glory?

Bible notes author

The Revd Richard Teal

Richard Teal is a Methodist minister currently serving as chair of the Cumbria Methodist District. He has a deep interest in ecumenical relationships, Church growth and liturgy.