Saturday April 13, 2019
Today’s Scripture Reading Luke 17:20-37
20 One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?”
Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. 21 You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.”
22 Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see the day when the Son of Man returns, but you won’t see it. 23 People will tell you, ‘Look, there is the Son of Man,’ or ‘Here he is,’ but don’t go out and follow them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other, so it will be on the day when the Son of Man comes. 25 But first the Son of Man must suffer terribly and be rejected by this generation.
26 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 27 In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building— 29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day a person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return home. 32 Remember what happened to Lot’s wife! 33 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. 34 That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding flour together at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.”
37 “Where will this happen, Lord?” the disciples asked.
Jesus replied, “Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.”
Daily Reflection R. Allan Culpepper
Jesus’ teachings claim that the kingdom of God is already present among us but yet to be fulfilled. Neither aspect can be minimized if we are to be true to His teachings, but how can the two emphases be held in balance? Without the promise that the sovereignty of God will someday be established over all the earth, we would not have the hope that faith requires. Who could trust in the reconciling power of love and self-sacrifice without the promise of the Kingdom of God?
On the other hand, if the hope of the kingdom were entirely future, what difference would it make to us now? The coming of the kingdom in the life of Jesus means that the power of the kingdom is already at work among us. We have seen in the ministry of Jesus the beginning of a new community, one that redeems and reconciles. Sin is forgiven and defeated. The broken are made whole. Oppression of the deprived is forbidden, and the powers of this age are challenged by the power at work in Jesus.
The presence of the kingdom, therefore, means that we can already begin to experience the community of the new age in the fellowship of those who are committed to God’s reign on earth. The hope of the coming kingdom gives us courage to lead changed lives in the present, yet it will not let us become so heaven bound that we are of no earthly use.
Some questions for reflection
- Functionally, how are we able to “see, feel, experience” God’s kingdom in the here and now?
- Jesus is “deflective” of when the end of time will come. How has this been helpful to the church? And how has this been hurtful to the church’s mission?
Today’s discipleship challenge
Think of a way in which you can bring God’s kingdom into the present moment and “Do it!”
Come! live in the light!
Shine with the joy and the love of the Lord!
We are called to be light for the kingdom,
to live in the freedom of the city of God!
Refrain: We are called to act with justice.
We are called to love tenderly.
We are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God.
2. Come! Open your heart!
Show your mercy to all those in fear!
We are called to be hope for the hopeless,
so all hatred and blindness will be no more!
3. Sing! Sing a new song!
Sing of that great day when all will be one!
God will reign and we’ll walk with each other as sisters
and brothers united in love!