by Jon Gonzales, Worship Leader, Barrie and Orillia Campuses
Welcome to Day 17 of the 24 Day Devotion. So glad you’re joining us! Each day for 24 days as a church, we’re going to read one chapter of the Gospel of Luke and post a devotion on it.
If you’ve never read the Bible, we’re so glad you’re joining us. And if you read the Bible, we hope this helps you grow in your faith.
Need to catch up? Start at Luke 1 – Is The New Testament A Lie? and follow along. Today’s devotion is below.
READ Luke 17
The book of Luke is absolutely full of valuable lessons. I hope that as we have been reading each chapter we are as keen to learn from the words of Jesus, as much as his disciples and followers were in their day.
Chapter 17 is certainly no exception to this. Jesus dives in head first speaking about always offering forgiveness to those who ask, even if they might not deserve it.
He tells us faith as small as a seed is enough to physically uproot a tree and move it.
And he shows compassion for ten sick people, healing every one of them. Surprisingly, only one comes back to thank him.
Forgiveness, faith, compassion, and gratitude seem to jump out to me as I read.
I’ll be the first to admit that in the busy, fast-paced, 24/7 lives we live, it’s hard to say I’m doing any of these things well. Maybe you can relate? Well here is the best part, it’s not over. Jesus is about to drop a bomb, if you blink you might miss it.
The Pharisees, the religious leaders of the time, come to ask Jesus a loaded question. These guys were out for blood, because Jesus was setting new paradigms everywhere he went. He was completely messing with centuries of religious tradition and what it meant, in their eyes, to be a follower of God.
In other words, they weren’t looking for Jesus’ insight or to learn from him. But Jesus always had a way of making their interactions become teachable moments.
So, the Pharisees decide to ask Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. This question was actually a pretty big deal to every Jewish person at the time. They were living in the Roman Empire, a kingdom they were forced to take part in.
Every Jew lived with the hope that one day their Messiah, the saviour, would come and overthrow the Romans to create a glorious new kingdom where Jews would no longer be oppressed.
Little did they know – Jesus was the very person they were waiting for.
Jesus responds in verses 20-37, saying the kingdom they seek is neither here or there, that it won’t be observed, that it’s already among us. That people will think they found it, but will be mistaken. That the world will go on as it always has, and that the kingdom will show up without warning, then those who are willing to give up their own live will keep their life.
What a Jesus-answer, right? It’s hard to make good sense of all that he said there. But I think the key to Jesus’ answer is found in verse 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. (NLT)
Some translations even say ‘within you’ or ‘in your midst’.
Did you catch that?
In our search for what we think is our glorious future, Jesus is telling us that what we seek is already here, among us, within us.
God is building his kingdom now, and he has been building it from the very beginning, starting within our hearts.
Jesus is our saviour and, with his arrival, the empire of human brokenness no longer has to rule over our lives. He is the one teaching us what it means to truly be human. To live in freedom, and to live in God’s kingdom. Here and Now.
The most exciting news is not that we get to live in this kingdom, but that WE get to be a part of building it.
To forgive, to have faith, to be compassionate, be thankful, give generously, and love others. These are all tools God has placed inside of us to build his kingdom. How are you using the tools God has given you to build His Kingdom in the world around you?
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy
Jesus’ life teaches us how to be a part of the Kingdom of God today.
Throughout your day remember that the Kingdom of God is within and around you. Focus on finding ways, using Jesus examples, to build God’s Kingdom where you are. While you are at work, or school. Taking the kids to soccer practice. Even sitting around the dinner table. It’s easier than you think.
Father God, thank you for giving me an example of what it looks like to live in your kingdom through Jesus. And thank you for placing everything I need to be part of your kingdom inside of me. Give me the strength to build with you, even when things may be difficult or challenging. As I give more of myself to love those around me, help them see the great freedom and life that comes from living for you.