By Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry Jr
When the Pharisees press him regarding his kingdom’s coming, he distinguishes it from political kingdoms and from the dramatic Jewish expectations: “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There itm is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst” (Lk 17:30–31).
When he stands before the Roman procurator Pilate, who was entrusted with keeping Judea under Roman control, the Lord declares that his kingdom “is not of this world” and therefore his servants will not fight (Jn 18:35). Rather his kingship is “to bear witness to the truth” (Jn 18:37). His response to Pilate is so clear — and so different from the Jewish accusations — that Pilate declares: “I find no guilt in Him” (Jn 18:38). Pilate sees Christ in a far different light than he does the revolutionary Barabbas (Mt 27:16–17).
In the Parable of the Sower Jesus notes that the kingdom spreads by means of God’s Word — not by “sword’s loud clashing” (Mt 26:51–52; Lk 17:30–31). And that its message fails to convert some hearers, though not those of good heart (Mt 13:18–23).2 He even explains that Satan hampers the kingdom’s growth (Mt 13:19). But despite this means of the kingdom’s spreading and its resistance from Satan, the kingdom nevertheless “bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty” in those who convert (Mt 13:23).3 Furthermore, rather than awaiting the distant future for establishing his kingdom, in the first century Christ sows his kingdom in the world.