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What Did Jesus Mean When He Said, "My Kingdom is Not of This World?"
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” - John 18:36, ESV
When Jesus was on trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world. What did He mean?
People have been trying to recruit Jesus to be the spokesman for their cause since He walked the earth 2,000 years ago. Like the brothers who tried to get Jesus to settle their inheritance dispute for them, people have wanted Jesus to be on their side in their petty worldly disputes. Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate to be examined to see if He was trying to take over the Roman Empire. But Jesus didn't want to rule as Roman emperor. That would have been a major demotion for Him!
Jesus' kingdom is not of this world; it transcends all earthly powers. Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, exalted to the right hand of God Almighty! What is sad is how often Christians have forgotten the words of Jesus.
Jesus specifically said, "If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting." Remember, He told Peter to put his sword away, and He healed Malchuis' severed ear. Sadly, in the centuries that have followed, Jesus' followers have picked up their swords again and again, attacking unbelievers in a vain attempt to advance the kingdom of God by force and even attacking each other. It is shocking how often Christians have been willing to violently attack other Christians in the pursuit of earthly political power.
We must not drag Jesus into our petty battles and use His name in vain to attack our enemies and advance our pet causes. We do this so easily and flippantly at times, and we need to repent of how cheaply we regard our Lord and His kingdom. It shows how much our hearts covet our worldly idols and how little our hearts regard Christ's heavenly kingdom. Jesus is indeed the highest and most glorious King and His kingdom is far better than any earthly kingdom of agenda. Let us worship Him!
Prayer Based on Psalm 76:
In the church, You are known, O God;
Your name is great among Your people.
Your dwelling has been established in our hearts and our midst by the Holy Spirit,
Here You have broken the curses of sin and death,
and You frustrate the warfare of our enemy against us.
Glorious are You, more majestic
than the mountains full of prey.
The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil;
they sank into sleep;
all the men of war
were unable to use their hands.
At Your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
both rider and horse lay stunned.
But You, You are to be feared!
Who can stand before You
when once Your anger is roused?
From the heavens You uttered judgment;
the earth feared and was still,
when You, O God, arose to establish judgment,
to save all the humble of the earth.
Surely even the wrath of man shall praise You;
the remnant of wrath You will put on like a belt.
May we fulfill our vows to You, O Lord your God, and perform them;
let all Your people bring gifts
to You, who are to be feared,
You who cut off the spirit of princes,
who are to be feared by the kings of the earth.
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