Prayer In A Sin-Filled World

The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or, “There it is!” For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.
–Luke 17:20-21

To understand the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18, we need to go back to Luke 17:20: “Having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, [Jesus] answered them.” Now, to the Jews, the kingdom of God represented that time when the Messiah would come and set up His kingdom of perfect peace and righteousness. The Jews were more interested in the political kingdom of God than the spiritual kingdom of God. And of course they did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. So they thought that by asking the question, perhaps they could trick Him into claiming He was the Son of God and then charge Him with blasphemy.

Notice how He answered. He said in verses 20-21, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” In other words, “Pharisees, quit looking in the sky for the coming of the kingdom of God. I am here! I am in your midst. I am the Messiah.”

Had the Jews accepted the Messiah, He would have set up His rule on earth. But that was not part of God’s plan. God used Israel’s rejection of Christ to bring about His redemption of all mankind. That does not mean God canceled the coming kingdom of God; He has just postponed it to a future age. Right now, you can experience an aspect of the kingdom of God to the extent that you allow Jesus Christ to rule over every area of your life. You do not have to wait until the second coming to enjoy some of the benefits of the kingdom in your life.

But there is coming a time when Christ will return and set up a kingdom that is free of the sin and persecution and sadness that characterize the world today. In the rest of Luke 17, Jesus described the events that will culminate with His return, including the crying out of the saints who are living during the tribulation. So in chapter 18, He told a parable to show those Christians who are awaiting the return of Christ, “Do not give up. Keep on praying.”

The fact is, all of us are living in the age just prior to the return of Christ. We are experiencing the results of living in a sin-filled world. Every problem you are facing right now can be traced to sin in your life, sin in somebody else’s life, or sin in the world. And the Bible says even though sin seems to be having victory, we should not lose heart. We ought to pray at all times.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Persistent Praying” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org

 

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