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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.” Luke 17:2-21

The coming of the Kingdom of God is glorious good news! In chapter 17 of Luke, as Jesus turns towards Jerusalem with a trajectory of the cross, he’s asked when will the long-awaited reign of God - the Kingdom of God - arrive? How will they possibly know? How can they make sure they don’t miss it?! Yet ironically, as they ask the question, they fail to see that not only is God’s King standing right before them, but Jesus has been demonstrating God’s Kingdom everywhere he goes. In Jesus, God’s Kingdom has burst into the world, is proven victorious through the cross, and will reach its culmination when Jesus returns to reign forever.

Luke: God's Kingdo‪m‬ St Bart's Anglican Church

    • Religion & Spirituality
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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.” Luke 17:2-21

The coming of the Kingdom of God is glorious good news! In chapter 17 of Luke, as Jesus turns towards Jerusalem with a trajectory of the cross, he’s asked when will the long-awaited reign of God - the Kingdom of God - arrive? How will they possibly know? How can they make sure they don’t miss it?! Yet ironically, as they ask the question, they fail to see that not only is God’s King standing right before them, but Jesus has been demonstrating God’s Kingdom everywhere he goes. In Jesus, God’s Kingdom has burst into the world, is proven victorious through the cross, and will reach its culmination when Jesus returns to reign forever.

    God's Kingdom // Day 40 - Luke 24:36-49

    God's Kingdom // Day 40 - Luke 24:36-49

    Reflection

    I wonder if you’ve ever had a moment when you’re just stunned? When words
    escape you? Well, the disciples here experience exactly that. There were
    reports of the resurrection from some of the women, Peter had gone into the
    tomb and only found the linen cloths, and two of the disciples had met
    Jesus while walking and then eating together. So naturally, the disciples
    discuss all of these events but as they are speaking, Jesus stood among
    them and said, ‘Peace be with you’. The result? Stunned silence. The
    disciples thought that he was a ghost but in reality, it was Jesus. He is
    risen! He didn’t stay dead and in fact, Jesus won the victory over death by
    death itself!

    He insists that he is real and not a ghost by pointing out his hands and
    his feet and by eating real food. He is really alive and this was the plan
    all along. It was written about him for thousands of years before him. He
    reigns victorious over sin and death and so now, sins can be forgiven for
    all who repent and believe in Jesus. This good news was to be firstly
    peached in Jerusalem and then, as we see in Acts, to the ends of the earth.

    This is indeed great news. We can be part of the kingdom, we can have
    forgiveness, we can have peace, we can have rest, we can have certainty of
    the future, all because our great King Jesus died and rose again. There is
    no one else like our God. There is nothing else in this world that can
    compare to having this sure and certain hope. So let us once again cast
    ourselves on the mercy and grace of God afresh this Easter. MC

    Questions

    What does the resurrection of Jesus achieve? Why is it so fundamental to
    our faith?

    If you were to tell someone about the Gospel in under a minute, what would
    you say?

    What could you do this Easter to intentionally see God’s mercy afresh?

    Prayer

    Lord God, you are victorious and you have the authority over all things
    including death itself. Thank you for the resurrection of Jesus and help us
    to be continually renewed and refreshed in your good news day by day. Amen.

    God's Kingdom // Day 39 - Luke 23:44-56

    God's Kingdom // Day 39 - Luke 23:44-56

    Reflection

    In the space of a night and morning, Jesus has been betrayed by Judas,
    denied by Peter, mocked and beaten by the guards, condemned by the
    Sanhedrin, sent away by Pilot, questioned by Herod, sent back to Pilot,
    rejected by the crowds in favour of a murderer, handed over by Pilot, and
    crucified. What is Jesus’ response? Verse 34 says, “then Jesus said,
    “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” He
    forgives them even while he is nailed to the cross, even while they cast
    lots for his clothes.

    Now, the sun is darkened from 12 PM until 3 PM as the light of the world is
    put to death. The sins of the whole world were put on Jesus on that tree.
    My sin was put on him, your sin was put on him. The punishment, the burden,
    and the shame was taken by him. So now having been freed from sin, there is
    now no barrier between us and God. The curtain that separated the people
    from the Holy of Holies in the temple was torn. Access to God is now not
    just for the high priest once a year, but now free for all who turn to
    Christ! But during the darkness and after the tearing of the curtain, Jesus
    cried out to God and Jesus died. We can sometimes let this wash over us but
    let’s just look at those words again. Jesus died. The son of God is dead.
    Our Lord and Saviour dies on our behalf. How incredible is our God!

    After he died, Luke records the reactions of different people. The
    centurion who was responsible for other troops actually praised God and
    realised that Jesus was innocent. Others who were there went home beating
    their breasts as a sign of repentance. Then a man named Joseph who was part
    of the Sanhedrin but didn’t agree with Jesus’ killing comes and in an act
    of tenderness, kindness, and possibly worship, takes Jesus’ lifeless,
    bruised, and battered body off the cross and lays him in his tomb. Our only
    plausible response in view of God’s mercy is to lay down our lives as
    living sacrifices to him. MC

    Questions

    Why was Jesus crucified? What does his death achieve?

    Prayer

    Loving Father, we are so thankful for Jesus’ death on the cross, saving us
    from sin, and giving us access to you. Help us to never take this for
    granted. Amen.

    God's Kingdom // Day 38 - Luke 22:47-53

    God's Kingdom // Day 38 - Luke 22:47-53

    Reflection

    Jesus’ disciples in yesterday’s passage were found sleeping and again Jesus
    told them to continue to pray but then he was interrupted by his betrayer.
    Judas comes into the scene with a crowd. This was one of the twelve, one of
    Jesus’ closest friends, closest followers but here he is betraying Jesus.
    He comes to him to kiss him as if greeting him as a friend. The greek word
    for ‘kiss’ has the same root as the word ‘to love’. Judas’ kiss was far
    from a kiss of love though. But Jesus isn’t surprised in the slightest. He
    is completely in control and knows that this was all to happen. He even
    questions Judas.

    His disciples though don’t know what is happening though. They begin to do
    what any human would do to try and defend their leader. They prepare for a
    fight. One even cuts off the ear of a servant! So does Jesus go with them
    and run free and take advantage of the distraction?! Most certainly not.
    Jesus rejects their violent impulses and even heals the servant of the one
    who wanted him dead. Even in the midst of his arrest, Jesus has immense
    love his enemies. Even in the mess of this evening, God’s plans are
    completely and utterly on track.

    Jesus then turns to the mob who came to him. He hasn’t done anything wrong,
    he had no plans to overthrow the authorities, and yet they still came to
    arrest him. Jesus was innocent and this crowd are the ones who are in the
    wrong. But Jesus submits and tells them that this is their hour. This is
    the time when the world can do the worst to God, when the world can go with
    every sinful desire, and do the ultimate act of rejection by putting him to
    death. But at the very same time, this is the hour that God had in mind
    since before the foundations of the earth were laid. For when humanity puts
    Jesus to death, this is when Jesus will take the sin of the world upon
    himself, drink the cup of God’s wrath, and secure us for eternity and
    snatch us from death’s jaws. MC

    Questions

    How is this one of the most tragic but one of the greatest moments in
    history?

    Prayer

    Lord God, thank you for the sure and certain promise of forgiveness of sins
    through Jesus. We are sorry for the times when we reject you and your rule.
    Please keep us from sin and grant us true repentance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    God's Kingdom // Day 37 - Luke 22:39-46

    God's Kingdom // Day 37 - Luke 22:39-46

    Reflection

    Every week in church and maybe more often than that for some, we pray the
    Lord’s Prayer and in it we pray, ‘your will be done’. We can rattle this
    off without thinking about what it really means. Here, Jesus knows exactly
    what it means.

    His time has come and he and the disciples go to the Mount of Olives to
    pray and this time it will be the last. He tells his disciples to pray that
    they won’t fall into temptation and he tells them to do it again in verse
    36. I know that if I was there and was about to see Jesus arrested and
    killed, I would be tempted to just lose heart, walk away, and give up. But
    Jesus’ command is to pray.

    After telling them the first time, Jesus goes around the corner, kneels,
    and prays. He knows what is ahead of him. He knows that the Father’s plan
    for salvation means he will be humiliated, experience terrible suffering,
    and experience the wrath of the Father. It’s going to be excruciating and
    so he asks the Father to take the cup away, to take away the wrath and all
    that is ahead. He’s in agony! But his prayer doesn’t end there. He ends by
    saying ‘yet not my will, but yours be done’. Jesus submits himself to the
    Father’s will even if it means going ahead with the plan for salvation
    through the cross. He prayed again through tears, through weakness, and
    through trouble.

    This is what it means to pray and live out ‘your will be done’. It means
    God’s will above our comfort, God’s will above our money, God’s will above
    our careers, God’s will above our best laid out plans, and it could mean
    God’s will above our lives. But why should we follow God’s will? Because he
    is God and because he knows what it is like. Jesus has wrestled with this
    question, experienced everything we could ever experience and more. Our God
    is the one who serves us even to death because of his love for us. May his
    will be done. MC

    Questions

    Where in your life may you not be submitting to the will of the Father?

    Prayer

    Our Father in heaven, how can we thank you enough for Jesus? Thank you that
    he submitted to your will even to the point of taking your wrath that we
    deserved. Help us to seek your will above all else, to live it out, and
    please expose our hearts for where we aren’t submitting to it. In Jesus’
    Name, Amen.

    God's Kingdom // Day 36 - 22:24-30

    God's Kingdom // Day 36 - 22:24-30

    After a meal like none other, the disciples start having a dispute like
    none other. It is really quite remarkable that even after Jesus has been
    with them for so long and told them about his death that this argument
    comes up. They begin to argue among themselves about who is going to be the
    greatest! However, Jesus puts an end to that conversation quickly and turns
    the definition of ‘the greatest’ right on its head.

    The pagan lords, rulers, and kings really had an overwhelming pride. They
    may have done good things but only to receive honour and be praised by
    other people. They loved the names people called them such as ‘Lord’ or
    ‘Your Grace’. That was the common perception of what it meant to be great!
    But Jesus says that followers of him are to have nothing to do with such
    things. The way to greatness is to be like the least, the youngest. The one
    who rules or is in leadership should be the one who serves.

    General knowledge and common sense will inform us that the one who is at
    the dinner table is the one who is greater. If you’ve watched any shows
    like Downton Abbey you’ll know this almost instinctively! But Jesus doesn’t
    just tell his disciples that it isn’t to be like this anymore but Jesus is
    going to demonstrate it fully and comprehensively. He is the one who came
    down to earth from heaven, in order to live among human beings, and
    ultimately to die for us to serve us. He is the one who truly serves. And
    so then if we want to be great, then we are called to follow his example.
    MC

    Questions

    Right here in Australia now, what do we consider to be the traits of one
    who is great?

    What is Jesus’ standard of greatness? How has he demonstrated this?

    How could you follow his example?

    Prayer

    Gracious God, thank you for the way in which you have served us through
    Jesus. Please keep us from pride and keep us from seeking human greatness,
    but help us to look for ways in which to serve others. In Jesus’ Name,
    Amen.

    God's Kingdom // Day 35 - Luke 22:14-22

    God's Kingdom // Day 35 - Luke 22:14-22

    Reflection

    In the past two chapters of Luke, Jesus has been questioned by the
    religious leaders, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the scribes. The
    result of his answers was that not one of them was able to accuse him of
    any wrongdoing, and they weren’t going to arrest him because all the crowds
    loved him! Arresting him would create a riot! Then, Jesus taught about the
    destruction of Jerusalem that was going to come in around 70AD and then he
    taught about the return of the Son of Man. However, the leaders were still
    determined to arrest and kill Jesus and Judas has agreed to betray Jesus
    for some cash. And today, it comes time for the Passover meal.

    The Passover meal was the meal where the Jewish nation celebrated and
    remembered their rescue from Egypt, and the gracious provision of God to
    spare the firstborn Son for those households that sacrificed and ate the
    lamb. This had been happening ever since the days of Moses, for thousands
    of years! But this Passover was going to be like none other. Jesus takes a
    cup and says that he won’t drink again of it until the kingdom of God
    comes.

    He takes bread, breaks it and says that it is his body. Then he takes a cup
    and says that it is the new covenant in his blood. In short, he makes the
    meal all about him because he is the ultimate fulfilment of the Passover.
    Instead of rescue from the angel of death going over the land, we need
    rescue from sin and death. Instead of a lamb dying in our place, Jesus is
    going to die in our place. So now whenever we have this meal, we celebrate
    and remember God’s gracious provision of Jesus. Innocent, yet broken on our
    behalf, and raised securing a new promise of life with him for eternity. MC

    Questions

    What was the Passover meant to represent or help the Israelites remember?

    How does Jesus fulfil the Passover? What can help us remember our great
    rescue?

    Prayer

    Lord God, thank you for the provision of Jesus who died in our place and
    rose again. Help us every time we come to the Lord’s Supper to remember
    this afresh and be renewed by the hope of the Gospel. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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