“Jesus is King”… by Tony Minell
Do you know what time of year it is? Besides the changing of the weather, do you know what time of year it is? Truly, it could be said, “‘Tis the most wonderful time of the year!’” Why? Because it is the time of year when we, as the body of Christ, especially focus upon the death and resurrection of our Savior – that incredible moment for which all history was created. The events of those three days would commence a never-ending and eternal song of praise unto the Lamb that was slain.
When was the last time you stood in the courtroom where Jesus was being accused before Pilate?
Take a look at John 18:33-37. I’ll wait here until you’ve read it… (I do recognize that most of you will simply keep reading the article. Oh well, I won’t make you read it).
There is Pilate, the Roman governor, having to figure out what to do with Jesus. Pilate is on his own turf (or so he thinks) – in his “headquarters.” Pilate calls to Jesus and asks Him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus responds in much the same way he often does – with a question. Jesus’ question is meant to prod Pilate into personal reflection, saying, in effect, “Do you seriously wonder if I am potentially a king or are you asking the question on behalf of others?”
Well, Pilate doesn’t want to answer the question for himself, so he deflects saying, “Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?”
Here we have the Roman governor of Judea seeking to get Jesus to answer a question. In a sense, the Roman governor believes that he has the authority to force Jesus to answer his questions. He is a primary example of what earthly/Roman rule looks like. He is every earthly ruler there ever has been and ever will be – filled with a desire to control.
If we didn’t know that Jesus was about to be crucified, we’d expect King Jesus to pull rank and impose His will upon all those under His authority. But that is not the kind of kingdom in which He sits enthroned. That is clear by Jesus’ next statement to this power-hungry ruler, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus goes on to explain, if His kingdom were like “the kingdoms of the 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.”
In other words, Jesus is trying to help this small-minded governor to understand that the Kingdom of God is not the same as the kingdoms you find on the earth (it is oh so much bigger).
To equate the Kingdom of God with the kingdoms of the world is to fall into the same trap that every 1st century Jew believed of the Messiah. They wanted a kingdom like the kingdoms of the world – one where the king would come and set up a rule that would establish a physical kingdom – complete with physical rules and physical borders and physical expectations.
But those who know Jesus have come to realize that His kingdom is not of this world. To put it another way, we have come to realize that His kingdom is primarily spiritual. It is not worldly.
The implications of what Jesus is explaining to the secular governor of the Roman province of Judea should still reverberate in our ears today. If His kingdom is not like the kingdoms of the world, why does the church of Jesus Christ have such a strong tendency to want to physically control its citizens?
Christians often believe that without rules, the result will be total “anarchy!” The actions of the aforementioned Christians communicate to the world that they believe that they (mankind), not God Almighty, are actually in charge. They, in practice, believe that the kingdom of God is just like the kingdoms of the world.
But what if we actually believed that Jesus’ Kingdom was a spiritual Kingdom? What if we believed that He actually reigns, currently, in the hearts of those who are His sons and daughters? How would that change the way we treat one another? Would we finally be willing to let people obey our master when He says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Or would we still insist, ‘Do unto others what we think you should do unto others.’
For those reading this, who believe that I am proclaiming some kind of relativistic message about letting people make their own decisions about any number of convictions, as if I am telling people that they can come to their own “truth”, then you need to consider Jesus’ final words to Pilate. He says this, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
Christ’s voice, not anyone else’s, is the voice we must listen to.
I am fully confident in the perfect authority of Jesus Christ. And if we are a people who allow Jesus to be our King, He will speak to us in a way that will bring perfect truth and unity throughout His Kingdom.
Otherwise, just like every other earthly kingdom, we will be splintered into parties and political fractions. It is time that the Bride of Christ stands up and no longer seeks to fit the Kingdom of Jesus Christ into the stale and small-minded cookie cutter of the worldly kingdoms around us.
Instead, let’s let Jesus truly reign supreme in the hearts of His people.
Serving King Jesus with you,
Pastor Tony Minell