One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
Isn’t it just like us to always be trying to locate what’s already here? We want definitions and labels. We want sides to take so we can be over here and everyone else can be over there. We want lines in the sand. We want to organize.
We got real excited a few years ago when the kingdom of God became a silent majority, then a coalition, then a party, then a radio station, then a subculture, then an agenda. We liked that because we knew where we stood. We knew who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. We knew what songs to listen to, what movies to go to, what movies not to go to, what schools to attend, what candidates to vote for. We liked the kingdom of God spelled out. We knew who to support and where to send our money. We knew exactly what we stood for and what we stood against. Life was much easier then. We knew who to love and who to hate.
But that was before we realized that Jesus never intended for us to think this way. And just as He messed it up for the Pharisees, He messed it up for us. He said we wouldn’t be able to find the kingdom over here or over there. He said it doesn’t line up that way. The kingdom of God doesn’t cooperate with any of the lines of demarcation we normally use to order things. It doesn’t fall within a category.
As a matter of fact, if someone says the kingdom of God is over here or over there, they are most likely wrong, because the kingdom of God doesn’t arrange itself that way. If someone says, “We’ve got it!” you can be sure they most certainly do not.
The kingdom of God is not where you’d expect it to be. Where you’d think it would be obvious, it many times is not; and where you are least expecting it to be, it can surprise you.
Jesus uses words like “among you,” “within you,” “within your grasp,” or “at hand” to describe where the kingdom of God is. That would indicate that the kingdom of God is like another dimension that puts it everywhere and nowhere depending on who you are and what you can see. It’s somewhat of a mystery. The minute you say you’ve got it is the minute you lose it. And the minute you rule out something or someone as not being part of the kingdom of God, lo and behold, it shows up.
I would venture to say you can find the kingdom of God anywhere and everywhere, for there is no place where God is not. And if that is true, and we are all in God’s image, then there is no one to hate, and everyone to love.