“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand–repent and believe the gospel.” – Mark 1:15
“Nevertheless, know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.” – Luke 10:11
“But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” – Luke 11:20
It is striking to see how often Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God. It was a primary and central subject in His teaching and ministry. Why did he speak so often about it? Because He WAS the kingdom in full embodiment. When He came, the kingdom had shown up in fullness. Jesus was not speaking eschatologically when he spoke about the kingdom; he was not talking about the end times, a future kingdom, or some earthly millennial reign men often think will come. He was talking about Himself having come.
The Savior is speaking of the spiritual reality of God drawing near–his presence and reign by the Holy Spirit. Paul says that the kingdom of God is “not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17) The kingdom is the reality of God’s presence coming near, to establish the rule and reign of the King in the hearts of true kingdom residents.
So when Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15) or “has come near” (Luke 10:11) or “has come upon you” (Luke 11:20), he is speaking of the presence and reality of God Himself in the person of the man Jesus Christ.
Mark 1:15 – Jesus shows up: The Kingdom is Here
God had come to the souls of men when the Lord Jesus showed up on earth. So in Mark 1:15, when our Lord says, “the time is fulfilled, kingdom of God is at hand”, he is saying, “It’s time to receive the King; I’m here; God has come; he is here in ME; you are now confronted with the very presence of the Almighty; so there is only one response–repent and turn to Me and believe the good news.
Luke 10:11 – Perfect Truth is Spoken: The Kingdom is Here
In Luke 10, when Jesus says the kingdom has come near, he was speaking about the proclamation of truth concerning him and the gospel. The context shows that the Lord had sent out the seventy to preach and heal. Those seventy anonymous persons went preaching in his name and by his authority. They were specially appointed by the Lord to go in his name. (10:1) They were told to heal the sick and were specifically told to say, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”
How had the kingdom come near to those who heard the seventy? It had come as divine truth that was preached in His authority. It was truth preached that brought the kingdom near to them. It was the message of the King, which was synonymous with the kingdom being near. The King was revealing Himself through the truth that was preached. When those folks heard the message of the seventy and saw the healing power of God through them, the kingdom had indeed come to those people. They did not need anything else. They were confronted with the reality of God in the message itself and the healing power of Christ.
Luke 11:20 – The Power of God is the Nearness of the Kingdom
In Luke 11, some were saying that Jesus was casting out demons through the power of Satan, the most dangerous thing anyone could ever say. The Lord goes on to expose their error and says to them, “If I by the finger (power) of God cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
When people see the power of Jesus that is authentic and real, they are immediately confronted with God Himself–the kingdom of God has then come near them, indeed, even upon them. They cannot deny the reality of the power of Christ and the gospel. They are without excuse. When men are confronted with God’s power in Christ, the kingdom has come to them. They had better receive it and bow to the King of the kingdom, or else they will never be in the kingdom.
When the Lord Jesus spoke about the kingdom coming near, He did not have in mind a future millennium or some eschatological gibberish. He was saying that the kingdom of God is present where Jesus the King reigns, where He comes and has rule and reign; When anyone hears the real truth about Jesus Christ, the kingdom is then manifested to them; when anyone see the reality of the power of Christ, the kingdom has drawn near- they should bow to him and receive the righteousness, peace and joy of the Holy Spirit.
When God speaks, moves, and draws near by His Spirit through His Word, the kingdom of God has come and we ought to take heed.
– Mack T.