The Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time

Luke 17:20-37

The Coming of the Kingdom

The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the most comforting doctrines of Scripture and foundational to any understanding of the Christian faith.  I do not say that everyone must know everything that pertains to this doctrine, and there are many details on which we may disagree, but that our Lord shall return – that is a non-negotiable teaching of the Christian faith.

So some Pharisees ask Jesus “when the Kingdom of God would come?”  Why they asked, we don’t know, but it was a relevant question given that the Kingdom was what Jesus spoke most about.  Now before Jesus starts talking about his return, he tells us something important.  His answer to the Pharisees was, “The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”  This is all to say that in our Lord’s life, ministry, death, and resurrection, and then the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost – this is all to say that the Kingdom of God is a present reality.  We are at this moment “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession” (1 Peter 2:9).  And we need to realize this and rejoice in that knowledge.  When Jesus speaks of the Kingdom as a grain of mustard seed, or a hidden treasure, or a pearl of great price, or any number of things, he is speaking of the Kingdom as it is now in this world, and of us as citizens of it (Ephesians 2:19).  So let us praise the Lord for the blessings He has bestowed on us this day.

But then he tells his disciples that the time will come when they “will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man” (Jesus’ favorite self-designation), but would not see it.  Why?  Because he must suffer and die, first.  And we share this same desire, do we not?  Do not our hearts long for his coming?  Do we not wish for our translation away from this world into his glory (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18)?  But he warns us not to be deceived by those who say that he has already come or who know the date.  His coming will be like a flash of lightning across the heavens.  And it will not be expected: It will be like the day when Noah entered the ark, or when God destroyed Sodom – people were buying, selling, eating, drinking, and, of course, sinning.  Two will be working or walking together; one will be taken, the other left.  And what will be left of the earth will be all death and destruction as Judgment Day arrives and God’s Son and His people finally vindicated.  So the Kingdom is both a present reality which we experience in the down-payment of the Holy Spirit, but which also awaits its future coming in all its fullness.  Rejoice!

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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