The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would be coming. They knew it was coming for the prophecies of the Old Testament indicated as much. They were expecting the Messiah to come and bring with him the Kingdom of God. They were also expecting to be rulers in this kingdom. Little did they know that the time had come and they missed it.
What is the kingdom of God?
Jesus responded to the Pharisees saying, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ .” (Verse 20-21) The Pharisees were expecting some observable sign that the Kingdom of God had come. But Jesus said that would not be the case.
Why? Because the Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom. It is not like man’s kingdoms where there are rulers to be seen, sitting on thrones or seats of power, with guards, armies and all the signs of kingship. No, the kingdom of God is not like any of these things for His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom.
Where is the kingdom of God?
Jesus continued on with his teaching saying, “…behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” (Verse 21) In this Jesus indicates where the kingdom of God would be found.
Now there are two aspects to this statement. First, we see that he is stating the obvious. The kingdom of God was indeed amongst them then and there at that time for Jesus, who is the king of kings, stood amongst them. The fact that the Pharisees did not recognise Jesus as king is irrelevant, he is the king and he was in the process of establishing his kingdom.
Then there is the second aspect, which is the ongoing nature and continuity of His kingdom. As the kingdom was amongst them then, so it is today. We enter into the Kingdom of God through the death of Jesus. When we come to Christ we become citizens of the Kingdom of God, and as citizens of God’s kingdom we are required to live in accordance with the requirements of the kingdom of God.
We need to repent, have faith, learn to walk in the Spirit, learn to love our brethren and so on. All of these are the functions and requirements of God’s kingdom, and we enter His kingdom through grace.
How do we gain entry?
Not only is the kingdom of God in our midst, but the Bible tells us also that it is within us. As mentioned already, it is a spiritual kingdom, not a physical one. It is about who we are and our relationship to God and one another. It is about transforming our hearts and minds to be like Christ so that we can walk as He did.
God’s kingdom does not consist of the things of the flesh. You cannot gain entry through money, power, or anything else of this world. You can only enter the Kingdom of God through the Spirit by Jesus Christ. As Jesus has said elsewhere, “I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10:7) When we enter by the door, that is, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we come into the presence of God in his kingdom.
There is a time coming when the kingdom of God will be established among men. This will commence at the return of Jesus at his second coming. After that his rule and reign will last into eternity and all of the promised blessing will come to pass.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng www.sxc.hu/ taken by Filipe Samora)