If, as followers of Jesus, we say we’re looking to bring God’s “kingdom” to earth, what exactly are we looking to bring? Where is the kingdom of God? How do we find it? What will it look like when we do?
These are fair questions. And not the first time they’ve been asked. Take for example this passage from Luke 17:20-21:
“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Jesus’ answer to these questions is that that kingdom is “within” or “among” us – depending on the translation. Both words seem beautifully, mystically frustrating to me at first. “Wait,” I say, “if we’re to seek first the kingdom of God does that mean we’re seeking first something already in us? Our own interests? Surely not that, because we’re supposed to look not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others. Is it already here? Is this something we are praying into existence on Earth as it is in Heaven?” So many other questions could arise from this statement in light of other words of Jesus.
But one thing that does seem to be clear here in Jesus’ teaching is that whatever kind of observable outward kingdom we may be seeking – justice, progress, prosperity, law and order, conquest – those things all fail to capture the fullness of God’s kingdom. No, the fullest expression of God’s kingdom on Earth is found in Jesus, and in us. We, his creations, it seems, are the kingdom. Inside each of us is a piece. And thus, the critical, inescapable, irreducible truth of our shared humanity is this: WE are the kingdom. Not me. Not you. Us.
O dear God, how we long for this reality. Unite us again, for such a time as this.
Grace and Peace,
In a season where the forces of death, darkness and division pillage the social fabric of our nation, John Kingston calls us to awaken to the life that is truly life. The timing for an American Awakening couldn’t be better to give us vision to restore and rebuild.
— Gabe Lyons, President of Q Media & Author of Good Faith