Introduction: During this year’s Advent season, I am writing a weekly blog post with a story from the Bible, followed by a few thoughts and questions to contemplate / think about during the week. May this be a blessing to you throughout your time leading up to Christmas.
Week 3 Readings:
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
(Matthew 1:20-23 NIV)
20 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.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.”
(Luke 17:20-21 NIV)
The Jews of Jesus’ day believed that Messiah would come; they thought He would come as a political and religious ruler to throw off the oppression of the Romans and re-establish His reign over the nation of Israel.
In Matthew’s Gospel, the angel told Joseph that the baby in Mary’s womb was indeed God Himself, coming in the form of a baby, both fully God and fully human.
Think of this for a moment – God, the Creator, coming to inhabit His creation.
And yet, fast forward 30 years, when Jesus is in the midst of His ministry here on earth, the Luke passage above tells us that the Pharisees ignored the possibility that Jesus could be Messiah, and asked when God’s kingdom would be ushered in.
Jesus confounded them by telling them not to look for visible signs of the Kingdom (what they were expecting to see); rather, Jesus said that the Kingdom was already in their midst. When the King is present, the Kingdom is with Him!
Some thoughts to ponder this week:
- What are your expectations about God and His interaction in your life? Do you expect Him to show up or handle matters in a certain way? If your expectations are not met, does that change your relationship with God?
- What do you believe about God’s Presence? Is He “out there”, or is He “right here”?
- If the Kingdom of God is already present (because Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to indwell us), what implications does that have to live our lives on a day-to-day basis?