Freedom's a Comin'!
Eternal God, with all that’s within me, I bless You. Your ways are from of old; Your works are ever new.
Read Luke 17:20-37
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“I am just an earthly, sinful father, and I love my kids. How could I not trust a heavenly, perfect Father who loves me infinitely more?” (Francis Chan).
The language Jesus uses here is intended to convey a powerful, single idea: something big is coming. God lives in a realm outside our own. It’s invisible to us (20,21). His plans and purposes, worked out on a scale of centuries, are all too often lost to our sight. We forget what he has done in the past. We lose track of what he is doing in our present. We lose faith in what he has promised for our future. We stop trusting.
God’s silence, Jesus asserts, is not the silence of inaction. He is at work in hidden ways all around us, and he has set a day when that which is currently unseen will be visible to all (24). The image of lightning speaks of a single, global moment of illumination, when everything is seen for what it is. Jesus borrows Old Testament images–Noah, Lot and Lot’s wife (26,28,32)–to give a measure of how sudden and unexpected the coming of the Kingdom might be. All three stories involve the judgment of God. In all three, God’s intervention is stark and powerful, and the complacent are caught off guard. Attempts to make this passage (33,34) fit the profile of “the Rapture” are misguided–not least because the examples given show the wicked being swept away (27,29), not the redeemed being whisked away. This is not about God’s people being rescued from the earth; it is about God’s Kingdom coming to the earth. Jesus taught us to pray. “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” because this is our hope and our expectation. It is not a vain hope. Don’t let a pause in God’s purposes fool you; he has not abandoned his plans, and he has not forgotten you.
What signs of God’s Kingdom do you see in the world? How will you react? Pray for it to fully come.
Sovereign Lord, I want to be a part of Your Kingdom that is breaking in today as well as fully coming in the future.