May your kingdom come
Reading: Luke 17: 20-37
Jesus talked a lot about the kingdom of God.
People wanted to know when this kingdom of God would come.
Even one Pharisee asked Jesus about this.
Then Jesus gave two answers: one to the Pharisee and another to his students.
Jesus was answering the same question differently, based on who was listening to him.
To the Pharisee, Jesus said something like this:
“If you try to observe, you may not see the kingdom of God.
It is not something that you can see.
It is not something you can say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is.’
This kingdom of God may be beyond your concept of location.
This kingdom of God can be beyond your concept of time and space.
But this Kingdom is next to you, even though you may not see it.
The kingdom of God is in your midst.
So, you need to find the kingdom that is already working in your heart and in your own midst first.”
Jesus understood that the Kingdom of God can be spiritually known.
Jesus told many stories to help people understand.
Jesus wants to help people to imagine.
It is like this.
If God’s kingdom has walls, their names may be kindness, patience, gentleness, love and mercy.
You cannot see those.
But you know those.
You know those who have these inner qualities.
Through them, people will experience the kingdom of God.
When these inner qualities are within us, we know that the kingdom of God is within us.
Jesus was saying that his kingdom was not something to see because Jesus is God and God is spirit.
God is interested in having the spiritual kingdom that will influence all the physical worlds.
So, Jesus was trying to help this Pharisee to enter into the realm of God with these words.
God is always there working in their midst.
God may not be seen in our space and time.
But God is in our space and time all the time.
We may notice God only when God manifest in such a way that we can see.
But God is always working even though we may not notice.
Most importantly, God sent Jesus, the Son of God, to work among them so that they can notice more of God’s kingdom.
So, if the Pharisees truly understood Jesus, they might be able to see and experience the Kingdom of God.
Through Jesus the kingdom of God is freely working without compromising who God is.
Then we may say that Jesus is like 3D glass.
When we look through Jesus, we see this kingdom of God.
Or Jesus is like a microscope.
When we see through Jesus, we see the Kingdom of God.
So, Jesus was asking this Pharisee to see the working of the Kingdom of God.
The kingdom of God was working and moving with Jesus.
Then because Jesus was in their midst, the kingdom of God was in their midst.
The kingdom of God was working in their midst, if he had eyes to see it.
So, Jesus is inviting him to imagine with God.
Then this Pharisee may also see that the kingdom of God is within him.
Because when we are interested in what God is interested in, we may understand this kingdom of God.
It may mean that we may need to go beyond our nationalism and may seek God’s kingdom that is not temporary and cannot fail.
It is something truly eternal.
Jesus is trying to invite us into that imagination.
Now Jesus was answering the same question for his disciples.
He said something like this:
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
Then I will rise from the dead and will be gone to heaven.
Then some people may still say, ‘Jesus is here!’ or ‘Jesus is there!’
Do not go running off after them.
When I am back, everyone will see clearly.
So, you don’t need to try to find me.
I will appear in your midst.
I will simply be in your midst.”
“But until the last moment, people may only care about eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building.
Until the last moment, they may not care to listen to my story.
“So, live your life thinking of me.
Don’t try to care about your possessions and their possessions.
Don’t try to keep your life.
If you lose it, you may really find it.
“Don’t think that staying with a holy person can save you.
Living with a holy person cannot save you.
If you are spiritual dead, you are dead.”
To his students, Jesus was talking about his second coming.
Jesus was saying:
“My second coming is not something to be observed.
But when I come, you will know, no matter where you are.
Don’t pay too much attention on what you see, what you touch, and what you have.
Pay attention to what you cannot see; what you cannot touch, and what you cannot have.
Care about mind, character and nature.
These are more important.
These can help you to be prepared for me.”
Jesus is interested in our soul.
For our souls, Jesus could abandon everything.
Jesus is asking his students and us to do the same.
Then we will be there where Jesus is.
Jesus will be there where we will be.
Jesus was also interested in love and kindness and humility.
Following Jesus means that to follow his love and kindness and humility.
If you can do that, it means that the Spirit of Jesus works within you.
Then you are inside of the Kingdom of God.
When we have those qualities, we have the kingdom of God.
The kingdom of God will expand through us.
So, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to work in our midst.
As we move with the Holy Spirit, we may move with the kingdom.
Then we may mature with the Holy Spirit.
Then more people may experience the Kingdom of God.
The Holy Spirit is working in our midst.
The Holy Spirit is not bound by space and time like us.
For many years, the Holy Spirit has been working in various places.
The Holy Spirit is working here.
At the same time, the Holy Spirit may is working somewhere else.
The Holy Spirit is bigger than our church, or our world.
But then this Holy Spirit can be always with us.
This Holy Spirit is working in our midst.
We don’t see her.
But she is in our mist.
The Holy Spirit may inspire us to do something.
The Holy Spirit may help us imagine and find answers for our questions.
Then through these, we may understand what Jesus says and can apply to our life.
In this way, we may be part of what Jesus was talking about.
Jesus, we pray for your kingdom to come.
May we recognize your kingdom working in our midst.
May we live knowing that the Kingdom of God is always in our midst.
May we expect what you will do in our midst.
May we also obey so that we may become your partner in ministry.
We want to pray also for North Korean.
May they experience this Holy Spirit working in their midst.
May they see the Kingdom of God in their midst.
May they be able to join what Jesus is doing in their midst.
In Jesus name. Amen.
Students noticed the sign and prepared.