Luke 17:20-37 The Kingdom Starts Within.
To the Pharisees who were looking for the kingdom of God in a conception of Messiah as establishing Himself in a political rule from Jerusalem, Jesus had to rebuke them by saying that the kingdom of God is within (vv. 20-21). Furthermore He also warns His disciples to not listen to those who will say that the Messiah as the Pharisees had conceived has appeared. It is interesting that Jesus said that they would “desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man” (v. 22). Much of this speculation centred around the eschatological figure ‘the Son of Man’ which hearkens back to the prophetic witness, like Daniel (7:13-14). However, He says “one of the days” not “the day”. We should not lose sight of the truth here, that there have been and will continue to be many days or comings of the Son of Man, though Jesus warns His disciples to not listen to those who claim they have witnessed His physical presence (v. 23 Cf. Mt. 24:23). This is in stark contrast to “His day”, when the Son of Man would indeed return, a day that would be as unmistakable “as the lightning that flashes,” but also unexpected (v. 24; 26-37 Cf. Mt. 24:27; 37-39).
However, Jesus said “but first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation” (v. 25 Cf. Mk. 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34). These things must be because the prophets predicted this, and the kingdom He came to inaugurate is a kingdom that begins with the need for redemption, that only His walk to the cross could fulfill. It would also come through the rejection of that generation, as He would bring to an end, by fulfillment, everything that that generation still hoped in- in Jerusalem and the temple. They would have observable warning signs of these events as Luke would later point out (21:5-33). However, Jesus came as God’s anointed, and as the Annointed One, He would fulfill all three offices of Prophet, Priest, and King. He would reign at the right hand of the ancient of Days as a Prophet-Priest-King. This is His main point-His kingdom comes through the gospel, that is why He said it was within (v. 21). Life is a matter of priorities. For those who put their lives and the enjoyment of life above all else, they are destined to lose. But for those who put Christ first, life is what they will receive (v. 33).