English Standard Version (ESV)
The Coming of the Kingdom
20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
Chandler and MacArthur interpret this slightly differently.
They had in their mind that there were going to be some sort of moon turning to blood, stars fracturing
in two and falling on the earth apocalyptic images that were going to occur when the kingdom of God was ushered in. Even if it was just military signs, they were looking for rebellion to fire up, they were looking for a marked defeat of some Roman outpost. That’s what they’re looking for, and Jesus is going, “You’re looking at the wrong things. You’re missing it here. The kingdom of God is not coming like this or like that.” The irony is they’re talking to the coming of the kingdom of God. The kingdom is not over there, over here. Look at how He answers. “...nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” If you have a version of the Bible that says, “inside of you,” I give you permission to mark that word out. That word is nowhere in the Greek. Now, Jesus just said to them, “I’m here. The kingdom is here. I’m in the midst of you right now.” So let’s see exactly what He’s saying. “The restoration of what was broken in Genesis 3, it’s here. The fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, that all the nations on the earth will be blessed, it’s here, it’s begun. Freedom from slavery, both external and internal, it’s here. Your king, your guide, your provider, the lover of your soul is here. I’m here. It has begun.” And then He goes on after this and talks about the consummation, what comes after this. “Okay, here’s where it begins, and here’s how it ends. But the kingdom of God has begun....
And it has so many implications that you could talk for hours on this. It has spiritual implications. In fact, if it’s not for the spiritual implications, there are no other implications. But spiritually the kingdom of God coming, Jesus Christ coming means that my soul is purchased, reconciled, made right. I am adopted as a son of God almighty. What was fractured in Genesis 3 between me and God, the enmity in my heart towards Him is removed and replaced with worship and affection. Sonship is given, the kingdom of God is here. But it also has social implications. Like I’ve been set free from the asinine pursuit of hierarchy and positioning, and I can lower myself and serve all. I’ve been freed in a materialistic sense, which means I’m not defined by my jeans, I’m not defined by my shoes, I’m not defined by my clothes and I’m not defined by where I live or what I drive. In fact, I’ve been set free to give whatever I have away for the good of the kingdom. I’ve been set free, spiritually coming to the kingdom, socially coming to the kingdom. Any power, any authority, anything I have is not given to me to lord it over anyone, but so that I might serve. That’s the coming of the kingdom. Materialistically, I’m not, “Let’s gather trinket after trinket after trinket to fill some void in my life.” But instead it's open-handed generosity to the saints and the poor and oppressed. That's the coming of the kingdom. And He's going "I'm right here. I'm standing in front of you. The kingdom of God is in the midst of you."
MacArthur maintains that this was another mockery of Jesus. They knew what a King was supposed to be like - absolute supremacy, absolute sovereignty, the king could do whatever he wanted with no repercussions. Jesus keeps talking about the kingdom, but they could see no evidence of it.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 17:22-25