The Kingdom of God is Entos Hymōn: Part 1: "In Your Midst"

I want to devote three posts to Luke 17.20-21:

When Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable; no one will say, ‘See here!’ or ‘There!’ For you see, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
The bit I want to reflect on is how Jesus describes the kingdom of God as being, in the Greek, entos hymōn.

There's a lot of debate about how best to translate entos hymōn, and I'd like to explore three of the main contenders.

Most translators translate entos hymōn as the CSB does above: "The kingdom of God is in your midst." 

To what, then, would this refer? What did Jesus mean when he said the kingdom of God is "in your midst"? 

That answer in Luke seems to be a reference to Jesus himself. Jesus is the kingdom standing there, right in front of his audience. Three examples from Luke for this reading.

First, from the Nazareth Manifesto, the sermon Jesus delivers in Nazareth to inaugurate his public ministry:
Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. As usual, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me
to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.” (Luke 4.16-21)
The shock of the audience following this sermon, to the point where they tried to kill Jesus, comes from the final line: "Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled." The kingdom is in your midst, right here and right now, in the person of Jesus.

A second example of this theme comes from an exchange Jesus has with the followers of John the Baptist, who come to Jesus expressing questions from John about if Jesus is, in truth, the Messiah:
Then John’s disciples told him about all these things. So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord, asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

When the men reached him, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to ask you, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”

At that time Jesus healed many people of diseases, afflictions, and evil spirits, and he granted sight to many blind people. He replied to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news, and blessed is the one who isn’t offended by me.” (Luke 7.18-23)
Jesus' message back to John is clear: "Look at the things that are happening through me. The kingdom has come, John."

Finally, in a public dispute regarding Jesus' ministry of exorcism:
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus told them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and a house divided against itself falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say I drive out demons by Beelzebul. And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive them out? For this reason they will be your judges. If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Luke 11.17-20)
As Jesus casts out demons he declares, "the kingdom of God has come upon you." 

There are other places in Luke where we can find this theme, but these suffice to make the point. The kingdom of God is inaugurated and made manifest in the person and ministry of Jesus. So when Jesus says in Luke 17 that the kingdom of God is "in your midst," he's talking about himself, in the same way he points to himself in Nazareth, with John the Baptist, and in his debate about exorcisms. 

This, then, is the consensus view about how entos hymōn should be translated in Luke 17 ("in your midst"), and what it means (a reference to the person and ministry of Jesus standing before his audience). 

Tomorrow we'll turn to a more controversial view, but one I think has some merit. 

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