Wednesday, April 8, 2009

John 18 -- Different Kind of Kingdom

John 18 is John's telling of the arrest and beginning of Jesus' trail. Twice there are events which help us see that Jesus was working under a different model of Kingdom. When Peter cuts off the servant's ear, and the conversation with Pilot.

When Peter slices the ear off of Malchus, he is working out of a Roman worldview. One where kingdoms are established by violence and bloodshed. Jesus quickly rebukes Peter, as that is not the kind of kingdom Jesus works in. Jesus willingly allows the mob to take him. He knows this is exactly why he was on earth. So the kingdom of God is seen against the kingdoms of this world.

Later when Jesus is being interviewed by Pilot, Jesus says, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight..." in response to Pilot's question "Are you king of the Jews?". The kingdom Jesus describes would be completely foreign to Pilot. What kind of kingdom can exist that will not use force to defend its king? Again Jesus says for this I was born, this is why I am here, to show the world how a true kingdom works.

I wonder if this Easter we have lost sight of the kind of kingdom we are a part of. We look at the world around us and it is not that different that the world Jesus was in. Violence rules the day, and the economy of oppression threatens the livelihood of the common person. The question is, are we looking to the right kingdom to save us? It is not found in a government, it is not found in a war, it is not found in an economy. The true kingdom is the kingdom of God, and it is a very different kind of kingdom. Which kingdom are we participating in?

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