The Kingdom of God

by Jonathan Bailey

“Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say. ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
Luke 17:20-21

The major theme of Jesus teachings was not His death on a cross, but the presence of His kingdom among us now. What was Jesus talking about? What is a kingdom? Our immediate inclination may be the place we call heaven, but that is not it. The Kingdom of God is a spiritual realm. It is a realm of influence that is completely submitted to one thing: the will of God. One author puts it this way, “The Kingdom of God is where what God wants done is done.1” With the coming of Jesus comes this new presence, this new reality that begins to be the home of the student of Jesus. We derive resources for inner-transformation from the grace of this kingdom. We begin to orient our entire lives around this Kingdom. We seek it always. We seek to be in it, we seek to be changed by it; we seek to wield the power of it. And one of the first things Jesus teaches us is that it is different than any other kingdom on earth. The weapons and tools we use are not guns, bombs, but, joy, peace, sacrificial-love, discipline, goodness, trust, and patience. Plainly speaking this kingdom is not of this world.

Israel was so desperately wanting a kingdom. It was the promise of God to set their descendants up as a nation or kingdom. Their power of being a nation was stripped from them by the Babylonians and Assyrians as they were forced to leave their country and live in subjection to a different kingdom. Once they were released some years later they were able to move back to their land but soon they were under a new kingdom: Rome. Ultimately they did not have dominion, but were basically ruled by the Romans. Every Jew of that day so despised the Romans for their occupation of their home land. So the Jews were looking for a new kingdom. But they could not see the kingdom Jesus was establishing. It was not a physical kingdom, but it was a spiritual kingdom. It was common knowledge that the Messiah would establish a new kingdom among Israel, but very few would understand what Jesus was doing as He went along establishing beachheads of the kingdom of God. Places where His students could come and learn and go out and make more students of Jesus.