Today's Reading: Luke 17:20-30
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. There are some Christians out there who think that Jesus is going to come back, lay the smack-down on all the evil people and rule as a king during a time of peace. The Pharisees thought the Messiah would throw out the Romans and the Jews could be their own nation again. Time and again throughout history, people have tried to make Jesus a political king. But that's not what His kingdom is about.
In this world you can identify citizens by the flags they wave or the passports they carry. But in Christ's kingdom, you can't immediately tell if someone belongs. Rather, we look to the things within that God has done. Faith and trust in Jesus come by Holy Baptism and the Word. But these are not seen by the world. And faith and trust in Jesus don't presume to be able to fix every problem in the world, just to let us believe that Jesus has things under control and is our Savior.
Many people want a Jesus who will be a king on an earthly throne and will get rid of everyone THEY think is a bad guy. But Jesus' crown is one of thorns and His throne was the cross. Now He is seated in glory at the Father's right hand, but until He comes again, His kingdom is hidden in His Church.
That doesn't mean we can't see the Church. It's right where faithful pastors are preaching and administering the sacraments. Yet when the world looks at the Church, it doesn't see a glorious kingdom. Even when we look at the Church, outwardly we can wonder, seeing the apparent problems it has. Yet Jesus is faithful. In His Church sins are forgiven and sinners are saved. We don't always see it without eyes, but to the eyes of faith, the Word is true and gives what Jesus promises. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Through toil and tribulation And tumult of her war She waits the consummation Of peace forevermore Till with the vision glorious Her longing eye are blest, And the great Church victorious Shall be the Church at rest. (The Church's One Foundation, LSB 644:4)