In anticipating the Messiah, the Jews looked forward to a better world. They looked forward to the day a military leader would overthrow their enemies and protect the people. That same leader would give the true interpretation of the law and inaugurate an ethical revival throughout the land. He would bring peace and purity. Great expectations were placed on the long awaited Messiah.
With an election just around the corner many hope for similar goals. People on all sides long for a leader to protect the people. Someone who will speak well and enlighten people with illuminating solutions. Someone who will unite the land and bring peace. But there is also anxiety and fear. Some fear that such a leader won’t come about. Some fear that one side will be the ruin of the other. Fear that one misstep by one political leader will bring utter collapse. Fear and anxiety of all kinds run through the minds of every citizen of every party and background. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a common remedy for everyone to employ?
In Luke 17, Jesus was asked by some Pharisees about when God’s kingdom would come. Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” The Pharisees and every Jew looked forward to the coming day of God’s kingdom and his Messiah. And what the Pharisees couldn’t see was that it was right in front of them in Jesus Christ.
Paul writes in Romans 14:17 that the kingdom of God is one of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. The kind of answers all people seek can be found in Jesus. The world everyone seeks can be found in Jesus. For God gives his creatures instructions for life in his words. He gives life and liveliness. He teaches and impresses the bold principal of love. But like the Pharisees so often we miss Jesus and his kingdom because we focus so much on what we call ‘our kingdom.’ But Jesus is ever before us. He has sent his spirit to be with us and help us.
Shortly after some Pharisees asked Jesus about when God’s kingdom would come in Luke 17 Jesus addressed his disciples and spoke about the last days. Jesus’ speech progressed to a point about prayer and he told a parable of a persistent widow who kept bothering a judge to give her justice against her adversary. Jesus’ point was to be persistent in prayer.
And that is good guidance for us as well, and not just for an election but for all walks in our lives. To be in prayer. To correspond with the Holy Spirit. To participate with Jesus the Messiah. For there is nothing closer to God’s kingdom than him, and for those who believe there are rich blessings connected to his kingdom we should anticipate only good things in approaching everything with him as our guide and leader. So pray persistently, seek first God’s kingdom, and observe and watch what the Messiah can do.
Rev. Tim Schaekel
Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church