Daily Bible Reading Devotional [Luke 17:20-37] December 3, 2017

The Coming of the Kingdom of God

20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

22 Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 People will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. 24 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife!33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” [36]

37 “Where, Lord?” they asked.

He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”

Observations & Reflections

Jesus is now responding to questions by what appears to be a sympathetic Pharisee. It appears that there is no animosity between Jesus and this Pharisee. This might be especially true if Jesus is still in Samaria because the Pharisees avoided contact with such people.

That being said, Jesus needs to correct the Pharisees thinking. The Pharisee believed that the coming of the Kingdom of God would be the same as the Day of Judgment. To be fair, the major prophets tend to combine these two events. However, Jesus separates these two events and lets the Pharisee know that the Kingdom of God is not able to observe and that it was already present.

Jesus then goes on to explain what things will be like in the final days, which is actually what the Pharisee was asking about. This is where things get real. Jesus follows line with the prophets of old and delivers a downright apocalyptic vision of the end.

In the end, when Jesus returns, there WILL be splitting of the people. Some will be spared and some will be destroyed.

I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. (Luke 17:34-35)

Theses verses should be read in line with Paul’s letter to Thessaloníki.

15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)

This also connect with Matthew’s account of Jesus’ day of judgment in chapter 25.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. (Matthew 25:31-33)

On the issue of the judgment day, the Bible is remarkably consistent. When the Lord makes His final return it will be a day of terror where the wicked are destroyed and the humble, meek, and faithful will be raised to new life with Christ.

May I suggest that we spend our time not worrying about WHEN the final day is coming (like the Pharisee) but spend our time doing the work of the Lord while we are on this earth.

[Featured image titled The Last Judgment“, by Stefan Lochner, circa 1435]

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