Here’s how I concluded my marathon paper entitled, ‘What is the Kingdom of God in Luke’s Gospel?‘:
On one level it is easy to see why this particular subject has generated so much debate and caused scholars to often have little in the way of consensus over some of the issues relating to the kingdom of God. In many ways it is difficult to give a definitive answer to the question posed at the beginning, even when limiting oneself to the kingdom as it appears in Luke’s gospel. However upon a careful reading of the text one can begin to put parameters in place and through these parameters begin to draw the outline of this dynamic kingdom of God. In closing then it would be helpful for us to briefly re-sketch our outline of the kingdom.
Luke paints for us the picture of a kingdom that is built, in part, upon the Old Testament and, to an even more limited degree, Jewish expectation of a liberating messiah who would establish a new age. He places Jesus at the center of his narrative as that liberator, but his act of liberation and restoration far surpasses any previous expectation. For Luke Jesus comes proclaiming a kingdom the purpose of which is to bring restoration to poor and beggarly Israel. Luke’s kingdom however is not limited to Israel but extends beyond to allow for people from the north, south, east and west to enter in. It is a restoration that doesn’t merely overturn the exile but goes to work on the many damaging effects of the fall. It is a kingdom that was present in the ministry of Jesus and that since the cross has been in effect, to some degree, and will continue until Christ returns and consummates the kingdom by complete restoration.
As Christians today we live in the middle of that timing process and as we do we would do well to heed the words of New Testament scholar, Craig L. Blomberg,
‘Understanding this combination of future and present elements of the kingdom gives us both hope and a certain realism about the Christian life and task. On the one hand, we dare not underestimate how much we can accomplish for God when yielded to his Spirit. He wants to create an outpost or colony of heaven – of the world to come – in our lives individually and corporately now in this age. Thus we become the salt of the earth and light of the world. On the other hand, we dare not underestimate the strength of the opposition. We will not Christianize the earth or establish God’s righteousness in any wholesale way in this life; that remains for Jesus himself to do after his return.’ (Jesus and the Gospels: 1997: 286)