Kings that force their subjects to fight and die for them are not unusual. They litter the pages of history books. But a king that dies for his subjects? Well, that’s rather astonishing.
Sometime this year another story of a revolution will likely pop up in the news. We see such headlines annually across the globe, though they don’t always receive significant international attention. Recent years brought coups or rebel attacks from Myanmar to Mali, Bolivia to Sudan, Central African Republic to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. People died for someone else’s quest for greater political power. Power is fleeting, always slipping away.
Jesus tells his followers to put down their swords, then heals the victim of his own disciple’s violence. As Pilate presses Jesus on the nature of his kingdom, Jesus gives the famous answer: “My kingdom is not from this world” (v. 36). But he will soon remind us not to confuse his response with an escapist I’ll-fly-away theology.
The followers of Jesus do not fight in a violent revolution because the nature of his kingdom is not of this violent world. The nature of the not-from-this-world kingdom should impact how we act in this world. We do not grab our Christian flags and some guns to start an insurrection. A different kind of king leads to a different kind of kingdom, inspiring people to act differently.
How do you approach questions of politics and power differently than nonbelievers? How could your behavior better suggest that you follow one whose kingdom is not from this world?
God, help me to live today with your kingdom values in mind. Guide me to treat others with an understanding of your love toward them. Amen.