Friday, August 10, 2007

"Not of This World"

In John 18, Jesus and Pontius Pilate have a very interesting exchange.
33Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"

34"Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?"

35"Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"

36Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

I think in some ways, what Jesus says in verse 34 has been interpreted in some ways that don't support the context. I've heard this passage used to talk about Heaven and how Jesus is waiting for us there after we die. Which might be true, but it's not what this passage is talking about.

When Jesus says that His Kingdom is "not of this world," what I believe He's saying is that His Kingdom is not achieved by the means that this world uses. In fact, the very next sentence Jesus speaks is about His followers fighting for Him if His Kingdom were of this world. In fact, at the crucial moment of His ministry, when the perfect time to break out the swords came, Jesus not only told Peter to put his sword away, Jesus healed the ear of the one that Peter had struck. In Jesus' Kingdom, in the Kingdom of God, the means by which we achieve the ends are just as important. To put it another way, in the Kingdom of God, a evil means does not justify a righteous end.

Next week: What would Jesus have thought of the atomic bomb?


belinda said...

Indeed, what would Jesus think of the atomic bomb . . . and what would he think of a country that was always meddling in other countries' business and deciding they had all the right answers on how to run a country??

Anonymous said...

I'm sure he loves the people, even though they are flawed, belinda, just like he loves you when you think you have all the answers.

belinda said...

How did I become the object of attack here? I just commented on the post. I've never claimed to have all the answers, and I still don't. I DID state facts "Anonymous."

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