Hello and welcome to Thursday’s podcast. We are looking at the second half of Luke 17 today.
But before we start let me remind us about what we’ve been looking at this week. On Monday we thought about living the Jesus way, not just the way of the world. On Tuesday we considered the bigger picture of life and the reality of heaven… yesterday we looked specifically at the value of forgiveness. What God has been speaking to me about as I have re-listened to these recordings is the message of Jesus is beautiful and the world needs to know it ASAP. I’ve definitely found myself looking outwards and not just inwards… life is too short to hold unforgiveness, people need to hear about Jesus. Life outside of God’s love sounds awful, people need to hear about Jesus. I’m certainly feeling a sense of urgency again today to live well and gossip God wherever I can. I wonder, what has God been saying to you this week already? Pause the podcast if you need to have a think.
In a moment we will pick up Luke 17 – looking at the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is being quizzed by some Pharisees about where and when will the Kingdom of God come and how it works. And he replies like this… I am going to read v20 & 21 now.
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, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
I don’t know what comes to mind when you hear these words but I instantly think of the Peter Kay sketch where he caricatures a popular opinion about “friends looking down on us giving us signs”. He caricatures: “that was Connie, she was there” in the sunshine as the coffin was lowered. He replied “wasn’t it just the weather?” And the jokes go on to a guy called Billy… “our Billy loved cheese and onion crisps, couldn’t move in our house for cheese and onion crisps… especially Quavers. He loved Quavers… and on the day he passed, she promises that she saw an empty packet of Quavers blow past the house…” “that was Billy… he was there.”…
As funny as that is… he has put his finger on something that is probably a common response when people die. For example, when a celebrity or musician dies there are often comments that they are looking down upon us and playing their guitar. For a generation of people that are not on the whole actively engaged in conversations about life after death – it does seem somewhat odd that people would think this way. Is it just false comfort or is there something more to it?
I’ve also heard heaven and the Kingdom of God described not as “pie in the sky when you die… but cake on a plate while we wait”.
The message that little rhyme is trying to get across marries with Jesus’ words that we read earlier. People will no longer be able to announce its arrival… (like counting the days down in a calendar as the Message version puts it) – we can’t do that because the kingdom of God is already here. Jesus has already announced its arrival. We actually looked again at the start of this season’s GROW project. It’s based out of Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news”! Perhaps we could go back and look at those simple video presentations that kick started this term’s modules.
At the end of this recording we will be able to hear the Bible reading read for today’s podcast in full. I won’t repeat it now… but the story goes on to basically outline people who are not aware that Gods kingdom is at hand. And how they are missing out.
Today let’s try not make that mistake. For example, we could look for signs of God at work and in faith join in. Not signs of crisp packets blowing down the street. But signs of open doors. Maybe we are looking after the home or the family today and some news comes in of someone unwell. Take the opportunity to pray for healing. See what God does… the Kingdom of God is near. Perhaps you have a lunch meeting or a phonemail with a friend today in between a busy day at work. Make some time to listen to God before you turn up or on the way and see if God gives you an encouraging word or Bible verse to share. Let’s try and live in the knowledge that (as Jesus says today) the Kingdom of God is in our midst already.
God thank you that your purposes are happening around us all the time. Give us eyes to perceive it and a willingness to jump in. Amen.
READING: Luke 17:20-37
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, nor will people say, “Here it is,” or “There it is,” because the kingdom of God is in your midst.’
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. People will tell you, “There he is!” or “Here he is!” Do not go running off after them. 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. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
‘Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 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.
‘It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulphur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
‘It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 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. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding corn together; one will be taken and the other left.’
‘Where, Lord?’ they asked.
He replied, ‘Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.’