“But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.” Luke 10:10-11.
My son and I plopped our weary bodies down in the Albuquerque hotel room bed at two in the morning, bone-weary from 16 hours of driving. A pounding on our door woke us only an hour later. I jumped up and opened the door to see a man screaming in Spanish. I wasn’t understanding, so he pointed frantically down the hall to the fire engulfing the hotel. That man’s warning saved our lives.
Jesus is warning us in Luke 10:10 with the strongest possible language. Rejection of His message is the unpardonable sin that prevents people from entering the Kingdom of God. His words are distinctively harsh as He warns us of the “fire down the hall.”
Tucked into the fabric of this passage is a thread of light–the promise of His kingdom. The kingdom of God is near when the King is present. Our lives lay on that promise, and we can experience His presence regularly.
What would you do if Jesus came to your church? Christ promised He would be present whenever two or more people gather in His name. We believe that but we just don’t act like HE is present.
HE is God of very God, Light of very Light. He spoke the worlds into existence and knitted solar systems into galaxies. At His Word, our Milky Way flows in perfect harmony amidst a universe of ever-expanding dimensions. He comes to you to cast the radiance of His presence into your heart. The kingdom of God is near.
God is not far away. He is nearer than our dearest friend or relative. He who knit your body together like a blanket has breathed life into your flesh and bones. He knows every fiber of your body, every molecule, atom and the very DNA strands of your cell structure. HE knows you right down to the hurts and pains of your history. God delights in the joy you feel and the love in your life. He also knows the stress, emptiness, regrets and sorrows you feel. The kingdom of God is near.
I had been on an extended fast several years ago when I felt the warm Presence of God in church. The sheer wonder of His attendance overwhelmed me. God’s forgiveness washed over me, and tears flowed easily. Jesus had pulled back Heaven’s veil for a moment, and I could sense the cloud-like Presence of God in the room. I looked around the sanctuary expecting other people to sense the same phenomena, but people were oddly unaware. Some looked sleepy and bored, I even saw one man look at his watch as if to say, how much longer before we go to lunch?
My mind screamed, “People, don’t you know WHO is in the room? God is here!” Many went home that day ignorant that God had a word of grace, comfort and encouragement for them. They were oblivious to WHO came to church that day.
Two thousand years ago, Christ approached the throne room of God carrying his blood. He sprinkled it on the mercy seat and said (my paraphrase) to His Father, “I finished the work, the price of forgiveness is paid, I received all their punishment on the cross, I satisfied your justice.” Then He who judges righteously spoke once again, “This is My Son, sacrificed for the sins of the world. He has redeemed the lost ones.”
At that moment, the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom and a silent thundering invitation was issued, “Come into the presence of God.” He invites you in and He will be at your church Sunday. Will you come with eyes to see and ears to hear? The kingdom of God is near.
Dave Holland pastored churches for 38 years before retiring in Destin. He recently released his new devotional-Bible study based on the Gospel of Luke titled “Extraordinary Jesus: Ignite Your Season of Miracles.” You can get a copy of this book from his website, DaveHolland.org, or at Amazon.com. Pastor Dave is available to preach and teach in churches and conferences.