Like lightning, Jesus’ kingship is certain, illuminating and universal, despite rumours and longings.
Luke 17:20-37 – Focus on verses 22 to 24
20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, “Here it is,” or “There it is,” because the kingdom of God is in your midst.’
22 Then he said to his disciples, ‘The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 People will tell you, “There he is!” or “Here he is!” Do not go running off after them. 24 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
26 ‘Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 ‘It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulphur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
30 ‘It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife!33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding corn together; one will be taken and the other left.’
37 ‘Where, Lord?’ they asked.
He replied, ‘Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.’
Yesterday we read that the Pharisees asked Jesus for observable signs about the coming of the Kingdom of God. We realised that the Kingdom of God is not something we can see, but is King Jesus’ reign over our lives.
In verses 22-24 we read about Jesus talking about the Kingdom of God again, but to his disciples. Jesus exhorts his disciples to be certain that He is king despite how they feel, or what other people say.
Verse 24 likens the “Son of Man in his day” to “lightning which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other”. Let’s break down what this means… “Son of Man” is a title the prophet Daniel gave to God’s everlasting King, which we believe to be Jesus. “…in his day” refers to when God’s everlasting King will be at his most glorious. King Jesus is at his most glorious in his death on the cross – paying the penalty for the sin of humanity, bringing the lost back into relationship with the Father! So far we have: King Jesus on the cross which is like “lightning which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other”. The attributes of the lightning help us to understand aspects of Jesus: …as a flash of lightning is objectively observed, so Jesus should be objectively recognised as King …as lightning lights up, so Jesus brings light to darkness (saving those who are lost), and shines light on darkness (condemning sin) …as lightning lights up the sky from one end to the other – seen far and wide, so Jesus is King over all. Putting it all together… King Jesus on the cross is like lightning in its certain, illuminating and universal nature.
And King Jesus’ work on the cross remains certain, illuminating and universal even though the disciples will long for Jesus’ presence (v22) when they feel agonising loss at his death.
King Jesus’ work on the cross remains certain, illuminating and universal even though rumours about Jesus will abound (v23).
Head: How is ‘King Jesus in his day’ like lightning? What might the suddenness of lightning point to about Jesus?
Heart: Do you long to be with Jesus like the disciples did? How might the nature of King Jesus’ work on the cross comfort you…?
Hands: How can you remind yourself each day that Jesus is King despite how you might feel, or what new information opposes this?
Prayer: Great God and Heavenly Father, You are the Rock of Ages – immovable in your character and will. Your son Jesus is King, glorified on the cross in death, and resurrected! Thank you for what He has done for me. Help me to know the certainty of Jesus’ kingship when I feel lost. Help me to know the certainty of Jesus’ kingship when I doubt. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Doubting Doubts
Living Church – Creek Road