In Matt 4, we find Jesus embarking on his public ministry, and his message is summarised in verse 17 like this, “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” It echoed what John the Baptist preached. And it is interesting that the Greek word for “come near” can carry the connotation of joining one thing to another.
As Jesus continues his journey we find him explaining something about the Kingdom “coming near” in Matt 12. The Pharisees were saying that Jesus drove out demons because he was in cahoots with Beelzebul, the prince of the demons. Jesus replies saying that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, and therefore it is by the Spirit that He accomplishes such acts. He then says, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
In bringing God’s reign and sovereignty in some measure, Jesus stated that the kingdom of God wasn’t coming NEAR, but that the kingdom was HERE. The words “come upon you” carries the meaning of “already attained”. The demonstration of God’s reign is the demonstration of the attainment of the kingdom.
This raises a question for me: am I living the message “the kingdom of heaven is near”, or “the kingdom of heaven is here”? Am I living in the demonstration of God’s sovereignty, or am I somehow still waiting for it? How would your life and my life be different if we understood that God has already made provision for us to see kingdom here?