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Not of This World

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

John 18:36

Jesus spoke these words to explain to Pontius Pilate why He was not resisting those who opposed Him. If His kingdom was just like all the other kingdoms of this world, He and His followers would go to war. But the kingdom of Jesus Christ is categorically different than the kingdoms of this world. Unfortunately, some Christians see this statement as an opportunity to cast doubt on the future reign of Christ on earth. They believe Christ was indicating that His kingdom was a heavenly rather than earthly kingdom. They assume that because His is a heavenly kingdom, it is not established in this world. That is unfortunate because the Bible teaches that although His kingdom is certainly heavenly, it will come down to this earth someday, and dominate this planet for 1,000 years. He will bring heaven down to earth! This is what makes the kingdom of Christ categorically different than the kingdoms of this world. It is first of all different in the manner in which it is received. The kingdoms of this world rise up from this world and seek to impose their own will on their subjects. The kingdom of Jesus Christ comes down from heaven and He accomplishes the will of His Father for His subjects. And while rulers of this world seek to gain their kingdoms through coercion and force, Christ receives His kingdom through obedience to His Father in heaven. Jesus once told a parable about a nobleman that went away to receive His kingdom and then return. (Luke 19:12-27) In that parable He refers to His own departure to heaven in order to receive His kingdom before returning to earth again. It's interesting to see that according to verse 11, He told that parable because so many were looking for His kingdom to appear immediately. He reminded those people, much like He reminded His own disciples before His ascension, that the kingdom and the time of its arrival belong to the Father alone. Another way the kingdom of Christ is not of this world is in the exercise of its authority. When the disciples were arguing about who would have authority in the kingdom Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28). Rather than wanting to have authority over others, in the kingdom of Christ, everyone will want to serve others. There are so many ways to see that the kingdom of Jesus Christ is not of this world. But praise God it is soon coming to invade this world!

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