Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20–21, NIV84)
Just like some today who feel they can with precision predict the return of Jesus, the Pharisees were convinced that they were ushering in the coming of the kingdom of God with their self-righteous lives. The irony within the Pharisees’ eschatology is that the kingdom of God had come in their lifetime in the person of Jesus Christ. But to all the religious scholars and prophets who today think they know when Jesus is going to return: don’t you listen to Jesus’ Word? He says more than once in the gospels that His return is not predictable. Jesus tells us in our verses for today that the day of Jesus’ return cannot be calculated by careful observation. People are not going to say, “Here it is,” or “There it is.” Jesus’ repeated message is that because we cannot know the day of His return, we must always be ready. We must be ready every day of our life for Jesus to return.
How can we know that we are ready? Jesus tells us in our verses for today that “the kingdom of God is within us.” Because we believe in Jesus Christ and have the Spirit of God dwelling in us, we are God’s temple/sanctuary. The Lord dwells within us and therefore we are citizens of the kingdom of God. You see, the most important question to ask is not “When is Jesus returning?” The “when” is a heavenly mystery. The most important question is, “Are we ready for His return?” If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you are ready! As we live out our days on this earth awaiting Jesus’ return, let us stay firmly rooted in God’s Word. Let us be devoted to consistent prayer, and may we live each day to bring others into the kingdom of God.