18:33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?”
35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?”
36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
A friend reminded me quite eloquently yesterday of a law I learned in chemistry a few years back. Matter, the stuff that everything is made of, can neither be created nor destroyed. All we can do is alter it from one state into another. Solids can become liquids or gases and vice versa but nothing is lost. Wood can be burned but is simply converted to heat and light and ashes. The same is true for energy.
Lately with the rising number of attacks from ISIS and the resulting fear that comes with it much discussion has been generated. Politicians and religious leaders are making some pretty controversial statements. Social media is generating some heated debates as well. Some say we need to get rid of guns while others say we need more of them. Sadly as I consider Jesus standing in front of Pilate I am reminded that our views and passionate speeches are creating far more heat than they are Light.
Why do I say that and why am I dragging our current world issues into a study of John's gospel? Because if we don't apply what we learn from Jesus to our lives and start to see our world through His eyes the study of the Bible is wasted.
Think about it. Jesus is a victim of religious terrorism. Men with religious views contrary to His are banding together plotting to end His life. In a twist quite different from ISIS they are attempting to achieve their sinister goals through proper legal channels. Seems so much more sanitized when we murder people "legally" doesn't it?
In order for the Jewish leaders to eliminate Jesus legally they had to both involve and incite the Romans. Only the Romans could legally execute Him and in order to get them to do that they needed a reason beyond some religious arguments for which the Romans cared nothing.
What better charge than treason. Jesus is claiming to be a king. That's how you get Rome's attention. Rome was happy to let the Jews have a "king" provided that he was appointed by and obedient to Rome. Jesus was neither. Were this miracle working renegade Rabbi permitted to gather a public following large enough to create an uprising or worse a coup, Pilate and Rome would have a serious problem on their hands.
Pilate wants to get to the bottom of this potential threat. He wants to know what all the fuss is about. He's trying to understand what's really happening.
Then Jesus speaks: "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were my servants would fight so that I would not be delivered to the Jews but My kingdom is not from here."
Hmmm. That's a different perspective. In just the past few days the President of Liberty University, perhaps the largest protestant university in the world, told the student body that the solution to the ISIS crisis was for every Christian to get a concealed carry permit (which the university will help them do for free) and start carrying a weapon. The response was raucous applause. Billy Graham's son Franklin, now the leader of the BGEA, said he agrees with Donald Trump that the solution is to deport all Muslims.
Have Christians forgotten what we are fighting for? Have we forgotten what Kingdom we belong to?
"My servants don't fight because this is not My kingdom."
If Judah and/or Rome was not Jesus' kingdom is Paris or America His kingdom?
Let's be honest:
1, The Jewish leaders were trying to kill Jesus to protect their religious and political turf.
2, Pilate was only concerned with his political turf and the interests of Rome.
3, All the heat and 'solutions' being generated to deal with the threat of ISIS are all about protecting our own turf. We are obsessed with a kingdom that Jesus says is not His.
4, We are so out of touch with the Jesus we profess to serve that we get more worked up over coffee cups and gay people than we do over the issues that occupied the passion of Jesus.
5, This is what the Bible says about nationalism and political/ideological turf wars: Hebrews 11:13 "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." See the great men and women of faith didn't live to protect turf of build kingdoms. They lived to do whatever God asked them to do realizing they were investing their lives in something far greater than a nation or a religion. How have we so catastrophically lost sight of this reality?
6, In God we trust or in guns we trust?
7, In God we trust or in genocide we trust?
8, In God we trust or in America we trust?
Either we stand with Jesus or we get honest and stop using His name to back our less than Divine agendas.
"My kingdom is not of this world." - Jesus
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