In John 18, verse 36, Jesus is being questioned by Pontius Pilate, who asks him what he has done to have been brought to trial. He replies, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”
When I read this tonight I was really struck by just how true this is. Jesus talks elsewhere in the Bible about how the heavenly realms are completely different from this earthly existence, and how in heaven those who are greatest will be the least, and vice versa.
It is so true that if Christ had been an earthly king, someone who had gained their position by force, graft, conquest, or by inheriting the spoils of someone else’s actions, he would have had armies and lackeys galore willing to fight to keep their position in his hierarchy. However, Christ came to the earth as the Prince of Peace, teaching a message of love for others and forgiveness for all wrongs.
He taught that we are to eschew materialism and greed and to depend on God to fulfill our wants and needs, and to not allow ourselves to be distracted by the values of this world. This is not something that the greedy and violent naturally gravitate to, so needless to say Jesus did not have an army of mercenaries to ride in and deliver him to safety.
Instead, he faced his fate bravely and valorously, knowing that he would change the world because of his bravery in the face of all that was befalling him. He knew that he had to go forward, and face his tormentors alone. He did this out of a love for us that is so strong that we humans simply cannot absorb its depth. When I interacted with Christ while using a legal substance, I felt this overwhelming unconditional love for us, and I understood for the first time what fueled his bravery in the face of what was coming.
Because he suffered so greatly, and walked bravely toward his fate, he was able to offer us salvation through repentance and forgiveness of sin. He came here to give us this message, knowing full well what awaited him. It is this Kingdom of Heaven that he refers to that he wanted to give us the keys to enter, by accepting him into our hearts and living lives of obedience to his teachings. I hope that everyone will honor the grave sacrifice that Christ made for us and allow him into your soul, so that he can guide all of us safely home, to live in his Kingdom in eternity.
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