One of the things that has helped me in my spiritual life is the knowledge that “we’re not home yet.” We can list all kinds of things, I’m sure, that remind us that this life in this world is not perfect. But our hope is that we have the kingdom of God to look forward to. We Christians all long for the day when we will be part of the Kingdom in all its fullness. Today Jesus speaks to the Pharisees, and his disciples, about the Kingdom.
To the Pharisees, Jesus issues a warning. He tells them they may as well stop looking for signs of the coming Kingdom, because the Kingdom is right under their noses! They have already missed the forest for the trees. The Kingdom of God is right here among them, ushered in by Jesus himself.
To his disciples, Jesus gives encouragement. He tells them that the days will come when they long for the Kingdom, but when that happens, they should not let themselves be easily led astray. They shouldn’t lose heart because they can’t see signs, and they should not be afraid when he himself has to suffer and die. The Kingdom of God, he tells them, does not come without a price, but it’s a price worth paying.
To all of us, also his disciples, I think he is saying both things. First of all, we cannot miss the Kingdom of God among us. We can’t be so wrapped up in ourselves and our concerns, or so focused on the Kingdom yet to come, that we miss God working and building his kingdom among us. The Kingdom is here, alive in the faithful, celebrated wherever God’s people live the Gospel. And second, we must not be tempted to look for signs of the end times. David Koresh and Jim Jones should not have any attraction for Christian believers. The end will come when the end comes, and if it happens while we are still here, may the end find us ready for the Kingdom.