The Kingdom of God has Come Near P.2
Luke 10: 9| By Keri Penning
“The kingdom of God has come near.”
Take a moment to read that again. Does it make your heart race a little?
The Message version of Luke 10 phrases it as “God’s kingdom is right on the doorstep.” Right there, just outside the door, within grasp! The disciples were sent out, and amid the warm welcomes, hospitality, and healing, the kingdom of God was near. However, there were doors slammed in faces, and rude comments spat at backs. The disciples perhaps endured jeers and unrest, certainly in-hospitality. Dust shaken from shoes. The kingdom of God was near.
When the twelve headed out earlier in Luke 9, they had instructions from Jesus, specific do’s and do not’s for their trip. Upon returning and gearing up for their next outing (chapter 10), Jesus paired up the disciples to join their ranks and gave them similar instructions. However, this time he threw in an extra little bit about some wolves. Jesus didn’t mince words here - there was no moral of the story tucked away in a parable. He warned them straight out and to be straightened out was probably what they needed in order to be prepared for the hard work waiting for them in the upcoming towns.
All of us have hard times in our lives, but we, like the disciples, have been put in the know. Knowing doesn’t prevent the hard, but knowing can help you prepare for the hard. The disciples were sent out with the knowledge that they would be welcomed with doors opened wide, and in the same breath, they were put on alert for trouble on their journey.
Every day, we disciple. We are sent into our homes, work, and schools. We repeatedly walk within our routines, or unexpectedly in aisle 3. We often don’t know if the day will greet us with hospitality or something less favorable, and we often don’t know what wolves are waiting for us around the corner. In times of peace it's easy to feel the nearness of God, to sense his kingdom in our midst. However, when the pendulum sways the other way, we shouldn’t be caught unaware. The Hard will come in all shapes, all sizes, and in one form or another, to everyone. As the disciples were sent town to town, so we are sent into spaces of peace one moment and a pack of wolves the next. Do take heart: The God who goes before you will never leave you nor forsake you. The kingdom of God has come near.
Be aware of God’s kingdom at work within the hard and easy spaces we're sent in to live.
Father, you call us to go, but never where you haven’t already gone before. You don’t give us false hope of an easy journey but you do promise your nearness regardless of what our lives looks like right now. With the knowledge of easy and hard, teach us to look for your presence in all of it. Spirit, make us aware. Amen.
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