Text: John 18:1-40
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
– John 18:36a, ESV
If I were a princess, I’d want everyone to know it. Right? Even just a title of some kind—I think I’d flash it around a bit. Doctor, Professor, Duchess… Not just Diana, but also [insert something impressive here]. Don’t most of us long for some distinction to add to our credentials?
Jesus did exactly the opposite— and He had every reason to boast! His qualifications trumped everyone and everything.
If we take the whole of Chapter 18 in context, we start to see the theme of Christ’s supremacy to everything in this world. Jesus sheds light on words, events and people which all unwittingly illustrate how separate heaven and earth truly are for Him. But this was the plan of salvation that God ordained: the Ruler and Creator of all must be deemed guilty by those He created—guilty of sins that were theirs, not His.
Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus makes a clear distinction here; He emphasizes that His kingdom is not of this world because, if it were, He would have soldiers fighting for His release. Not only that, we know He could command anything at this time and it would be done for Him. Yet, He doesn’t.
We fight for things that are ours that have been taken away. We rescue captives, search for missing children, take action against those who steal—and this response is right and good. But Jesus circumvents any attempt for His Father’s plans to be changed—chiding Peter (John 18:11), releasing Judas (John 13:27), and handing Himself over to men who clearly had no case against Him (John 18: 4-12).
Jesus is fulfilling His own commandment, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth… but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Matthew 6:19-20). He loves the world He created, He loves His disciples, He even loves the men that are ready to crucify Him. Yet Jesus knows that this is temporary, and His and our real treasures wait for us in eternity. He will come one day with armies (Rev. 19:14), but but in these moments He was willing to forego all early connections in order that His Father’s will might be fulfilled. Christ did this for us; He became sin so that we could appear sinless before the Father.
As we read and study this chapter together—and prepare our hearts for what we know is to come in these next few days—let’s ask ourselves if we are we are willing to follow Jesus’ example. Would we gladly give up the armies of the world in order to stand reconciled and redeemed in front of our Father’s eternal throne? Are we willing to give up our earthly kingdoms for the forever glory of our Lord?
“ …so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28)