" Here's the scandal: not just that Jesus speaks of the new kingdom, but that he says the kingdom is at hand, available to be grasped, knocking at the door--not just someday in the future, but here and now! To a Jewish hearer then, "the kingdom of God" may have been an accessible and evoactive metaphor, but "at hand" would come as a shock and a contradiction to what everyone thought. To them, it could only happen later--after the Romans were ejected or eliminated. And this was so hard to imagine actually occurring anytime soon that they were considered completely improbable and practically impossible.
Think of our reality today. We might all believe that war and poverty should end someday, but how many people would believe a self-proclaimed prophet who arose from say, Panama or Sierra Leone or Sri Lanka and was interviewed on CNN with this message: " Now is the time! It's time to decommission weapons programs and reconcile with enemeies! It's time for prosperous multinationals to become rich in generousity! Don't say someday or tomorrow, the time is today! Shut down your weapons and open your checkbooks!"
"The Greek phrase John uses for eternal life literally means life of the ages, as opposed, I think we could say, to life as people are living these days. So John's related phrases--eternal life, life to the full, and simply life--give us a unique angle on what Jesus meant by kingdom of God: a life radically different from the way people are living these days, a life that is full and overflowing, a higher life that is centered in an interactive relationship with God. "