It’s only been a short time since Jesus began His ministry, but He’s already attracting attention. Between performing miracles and overturning tables in the temple, He’s being noticed by the people in Jerusalem while He is there for the Passover season. One man in particular — a Pharisee named Nicodemus — is so intrigued by Jesus that he arranges a meeting (at night so it will be private) to ask Jesus some questions.
Acknowledging that Jesus is “a teacher come from God” (John 3:2), Nicodemus asks Jesus about the coming of the kingdom of God. When will it come? Where will it be? Perhaps he is expecting Jesus to name some location in Jerusalem for the kingdom of God to be established. But Jesus has a different answer that He uses when the Pharisees ask about the kingdom of God:
“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
Assuming that Jesus gave this type of response on this occasion, you can imagine Nicodemus saying, “Oh, so the kingdom of God is within me?” But Jesus lets him know that he would first need to be “born again,” pointing out that “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Nicodemus asks the obvious question that someone would ask if they are unfamiliar with the concept of being born again: “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4). Jesus explains that a person must be “born of water (baptized) and of the Spirit (receive the Holy Ghost) [in order to] enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
How about you? Have you been born again? If you have repented of your sins and been baptized and then received the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands, then you have been born again in the way that Jesus describes above. If you have done this, then the kingdom of God has been established within you.
How can a kingdom be inside you? Well, if you think about what a kingdom is, it’s a place where a king reigns and rules. So, if the Holy Ghost (part of God) is within you and you allow God to reign supreme in your life and you follow what He tells you to do, then the kingdom of God is within you. You can be said to be living in the kingdom of God.
And, since this kingdom of God is not tied to a physical location, it goes with you wherever you go. Yes, you’re in the kingdom of God when you’re in church, but you also can (and should) be living in the kingdom of God every day of your life — wherever you are and whoever you’re with. Every person who you interact with is being exposed to the kingdom of God. (So make sure it’s a positive exposure!)
We as a church look forward to a physical kingdom of God on earth. And we all look forward to the eternal kingdom of God that we enter when we leave this life. However, you don’t have to wait for some future time to live in the kingdom of God. If you’ve been born again, then realize that you’re living in the kingdom of God today. The kingdom of God is within you!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.