Friday, March 27
Today’s Reading: Luke 17:20-37
Luke 17 20-21
Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
The Pharisees ask a valid question, “When will the kingdom of God come?” Should we be prepared because it will come soon? But Jesus answers that the coming of God’s kingdom is not something to be observed. We cannot apply scientific principles to it or compile data to determine that it has indeed come. Jesus is not talking about an intellectual response, or one that may be objectively observed or pointed to, saying “Here it is!” Instead, Jesus says that the kingdom of God is in your midst.
I’m sure Jesus meant that he himself was among them, so yes, the kingdom of God was in their midst, whether they realized it or not. But I think in a real sense, as a believer accepts Christ as savior, the kingdom of God is also in their midst as the Holy Spirit comes to reside within them by faith. This unseen presence is only perceived within us as we are receptive and listening to what God asks of us.
Yes, we may ignore God’s presence within us or turn our back to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. This is why Jesus says that God stands at the door and knocks. It is up to us to open the door, spiritually speaking. It is our decision whether to listen and obey God’s Word and the nudges of the Holy Spirit. God will never force his way in.
Jesus goes on in verses 22-37 to give us hints about the second coming of Christ. For those who do not know him, it will be tempting to run after one so-called savior or another. “There he is!” But Jesus says not to run after these presumptive saviors. There will be tough times in those days, as catastrophic as the flood in the days of Noah, or the destruction of Sodom in the time of Lot. To make a wrong choice is to be destroyed.
Jesus says, “Do not hesitate.” Now is the time to declare you belong to Christ. You may not get a second chance, like thinking you have time to go back for some treasured possession before a wildfire traps you with no escape. To keep your life in its comfort for today is to lose it for eternity.
Verses 30-35: “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife! 33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.”
This is a scary passage, especially in light of our present coronavirus. One of us could be taken while another recovers. There will be many more deaths and an uncertain number of months, before the virus peaks and declines. Are you good with the Lord? Have you given your life to him?
I pray for all those around the world who are currently infected with the coronavirus, and especially for those who are hospitalized and in critical condition. I pray that they know you and are ready to meet you when this life is done. I pray for medical personnel who are stretched beyond their strength, that they may rely on you. Keep us connected with you even though we must be apart right now. This I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.