Luke 17:20-21 tells how the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. He replied that it would not come with signs to be observed, nor will people say, “Look, here it is!” or “There!” because “the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” (English Standard Version)
The kingdom of God was not going to be found in the political overthrow of Rome in Jesus’ day. Today, the kingdom of God is not found in the numbers of people coming to church; nor in a date for Christ’s return.
Rather it is found in our character, both in individuals and in the corporate church. The kingdom resides inside, and then shows itself in our acts of obedience to Jesus.
North American and European Christians face a challenging question: “shall we show hospitality to Syrian and other refugees?” Cultural voices say “No, there may be terrorists; we have big problems too.” Unfortunately some Christians are caught up in such bad ideas.
In 2 Corinthians 10 Paul teaches us to tear down a stronghold like this. We take captive our thoughts of selfishness and fear – the bad ideas which pull us away from loving our enemy and our neighbor; and which tell us to close our doors of hospitality to the needy. Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you took me in!” Matthew 25:35.
The kingdom of God will be found in our capacity to love, show hospitality, and risk obedience to Jesus’ command – be it in welcoming refugees or sharing the gospel in proclamation. Let’s be kingdom people!