PASSAGE: "Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, 'The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is within you'" (Luke 17:20-21).
COMMENT: The first thing that is clear from this passage, I think, is that Jesus and the Pharisees had totally different concepts of what “the kingdom of God” means. The Pharisees believed it would be a kingdom that restored the throne of David, cast out the various nations under whose dominion Israel had been living for centuries, and lifted Israel to a position of power in the world as God's chosen nation. If they could get Jesus to either commit to a specific date, or admit he didn't know, either answer could discredit him in the eyes of those who were following him.
But Jesus is speaking of a different kind of kingdom. For him the kingdom of God has little to do with outer appearances—it isn't about "things that can be observed." The kingdom of God is a new dimension of consciousness—a full realization of our Oneness with the creative power of God, and a willingness to use that Oneness as the basis for all our choices and beliefs. That shift in consciousness will, of course, eventually transform the world as we know it. But if we wait for it to appear in the outer first, we're missing the point. That's why we have to begin by realizing that 'the kingdom of God is within' us, waiting for us to call it forth into expression.