Luke 17 (5)
Pray Psalm 22.23-25.
You who fear the LORD, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.
My praise shall be of You in the great assembly;
I will pay My vows before those who fear Him.
Sing Psalm 22.23-25.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord Is King)
All you who fear the Lord, now praise His holy Name!
You children of His glorious Word, declare His fame!
We stand in awe of our eternal God, and on His mercy call.
For He has not despised the anguish of our King,
Nor from Him hid His eyes, Who knew such suffering.
Let praise arise from all who love and serve the Ruler of the skies!
Read Luke 17.1-21; meditate on verses 20, 21.
1. How does the Kingdom not come?
2. Where does the Kingdom come?
The Pharisees were asking a question about externals: How will we be able to know, and what will we see when the Kingdom of God comes (v. 20)?
Jesus answered them by shifting the perspective. The Kingdom doesn’t come with armies, sieges, coronations, and grand festivals – the kind of external evidence driving the Pharisees’ question (v. 20). This is because real power to rule, transform, and sustain a kingdom is not, in the first instance, external. The Jews had already learned this the hard way more than once. They would have to learn it again in the same way in just a few short years.
Jesus pointed His questioners within, and that in two senses (v. 21). First, within as among. Here, where you are, right in your midst, within you. Namely, Me! Jesus was the “beast in the jungle” (Henry James) the Jews had been hoping for for centuries, but they were so blinded by their own preconceived notions that they could not see Him when He stood up before them.
Second, Jesus pointed to the soul, that which, within the body, motivates, shapes, and moves the body to act. The Kingdom – the rule of King Jesus – comes to the soul first. There, using the glory of God and His Word, the Spirit remakes the soul into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3.12-18), so that His rule advances within us and then through us unto righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18).
You can’t see the Kingdom as it’s working within you. But when it is working within you, you will see the evidence of the rule of King Jesus coming to light in every aspect of your life and throughout your Personal Mission Field.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Jesus taught His disciples to pray for the Kingdom to be actively working within: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Lk. 11.2). If the kingdom of God is within us (Lk. 17.21), then we have, with the power of the Holy Spirit, control over what happens in there. We can cause His will to be done on earth, in us, by following His Law, as it most assuredly is followed in heaven.
“I delight to do Your will, O my God, and
Your law is within my heart” (Ps. 40.8).
“Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
for I delight in it” (Ps. 119.35).
“I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
forever, to the very end” (Ps. 119.112).
“I long for Your salvation, O LORD, and
Your law is my delight” (Ps. 119.174).
Jesus, as our Kingdom-Guide, said to His disciples, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (Jn. 4.34).
The Kingdom of God is here—within you and me.
And only we can make our part of it flourish by obedience to our King:
“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory,
the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all” (1 Chron. 29.11).
“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and
Your dominion endures throughout all generations” (Ps. 145.13).
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12.28).
The Kingdom within, will bless those without when God’s will is done in us as it’s done in heaven. And we can make this happen through “Christ who strengthens” us! (Phil. 4.13)
Either that, or our kingdom is a dud. For “whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls” (Prov. 25.28). And who wants to live in a kingdom like that?
1. What does it mean for you to seek the Kingdom and righteousness of God?
2. How do you expect to see the rule of King Jesus, as it operates within you, come to expression in your daily life?
3. Paul said the Kingdom of God is power (1 Cor. 4.20). What kind of power? Power for what?
If the kingdom of God is within us and is righteousness, peace and joy, then someone that remains in these is surely within the kingdom of God. John Cassian (360-432), Conference 1.13
Pray Psalm 22.26-28.
Give praise to God that His Kingdom has come to earth and that it continues to advance day by day. Seek more of His Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit for your daily life. Ask the Lord to make you an effective ambassador for His Kingdom.
Sing Psalm 22.26-28.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord Is King)
Then all the poor shall eat and praise with us the Lord.
Forever we His praise repeat and trust His Word.
Praise God above, all you who keep His vows and who His mercies love!
All nations shall repent and hasten to the Lord.
All those to whom His truth is sent shall praise His Word.
The Lord is King! His sovereign rule on high now we His people sing!
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.