Day 41: Where is the Kingdom? (Luke 17:11-37)
Today’s Passage: Luke 17:11-37
I often want to get to the goal, to the end. It becomes my focal point.
For pilots, it can be deadly. “Target Fixation” is a phrase used to describe how a jet fighter pilot can get so locked into his/her target, that they lose an awareness of their surrounding situation. The result is they fly their planes into mountains and die.
Perhaps so to for us. Death, spiritual death, may be the outcome of focusing on some sought after goal. The Pharisees ask in verse 20 when the kingdom of God will come. They ask this right after ten lepers were completely healed and restored of one of the most isolating and painful diseases of Jesus’ day.
Are they so focused on this perceived brass ring, that they miss the kingdom of God that is in their very presence? When people are restored to wholeness, physical and spiritual, has not the kingdom of God become present? Jesus even says in verse 21 that the kingdom is in their midst.
He then turns to his disciples and warns them (and therefore us) that many people will be predicting when Jesus will return. Woven through this text are both those who predict the day of Jesus’ return, and Jesus’ description of how people will behave.
His first point is pay no attention to those predicting the end. He has already said in Luke 12:40 to be ready. He will say in Luke 21:36 to keep watch. And in Matthew 24:36 Jesus says that only the Father knows when.
His second point is that when it happens, be fully committed. Do not look back.
In the text there is a transition. Jesus transitions to the day when the Son of Man will be revealed. Would that not be a day when the kingdom of God is fully in view? I think yes. When is that day? Look for the corpse and the vultures. Look for the Cross.
The kingdom of God is found where Jesus and his work breaks in and breaks down this world. It happens in many ways, like with the healing of lepers. It happens most dramatically at the Cross.