Daily Reading & Meditation

 Sunday (November 22): "My kingship is not of this world"

Scripture: John 18:33-37

33 Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, "Are  you the King of the Jews?" 34 Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?"  35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?"  36 Jesus answered, "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world."  37 Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice."

Old Testament Reading: Daniel 7:13-14

13  I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

Meditation:  Do you recognize that the Lord Jesus have been given all authority and power to reign over heaven and earth? Jesus was crucified for his claim to be the Messiah King (John 18:37) who would rule not only over his people Israel but ultimately over all the nations as well (Daniel 7:13-14).

God is King and Ruler over all
What is the significance or meaning of Jesus' kingship for us? Kingship today seems antiquated, especially in democratic societies where everyone is treated equal and free. God at first did not want to give his people Israel a king. Why? Because God alone was their King and they needed no other. Nonetheless, God relented and promised his people that through David's line he would establish a Ruler and a Kingdom that would last for eternity (Psalm 89:29).

The Jews understood that the Messiah ("Anointed One") would come as God's anointed King to restore paradise and establish God's reign of everlasting peace for them. They wanted a Messianic King who would free them from strife and division and from foreign oppression. Many had high hopes that Jesus would be the Messiah and Ruler for Israel. Little did they understand what kind of kingship Jesus claimed to possess.

Jesus' claim to kingship
Jesus came to deliver his people, and the whole world, from the worst kind of tyranny possible - from bondage to sin, condemnation and death, and to free us from Satan's kingdom of deception, oppression, and destruction. Jesus came to conquer hearts and souls for an unshakeable kingdom - a kingdom ruled not by force or fear - but by the power of God's righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

When Satan tempted Jesus during his forty day fast in the wilderness, he offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8-9) Jesus knew that the world was in Satan's power. And this was precisely why Jesus came - to overthrow Satan's power and deception over the earth. Jesus knew that the way to victory was through submission to his Father's will and strategy for overcoming sin and Satan in the world. The Father sent his only begotten Son into the world, not to condemn it, but to save it through the atoning sacrifice which Jesus would make for us through the shedding of his blood on the cross of Calvary.

As Jesus was dying on the cross, he was mocked for his claim to kingship. Nonetheless, he died not only as King of the Jews, but King of all the nations as well. His victory over the power of sin, Satan, and the world, was accomplished through his death on the cross and his resurrection. Jesus exchanged a throne of glory for a cross of shame to restore us from slavery to sin to glory with God as his adopted sons and daughters. In the Book of Revelations Jesus is called King of kings and Lord and lords (Revelations 19:16).  Do you recognize Jesus Christ as your King and Lord?

Which ruler and kingdom will you serve?
The Scriptures tell us that there are ultimately only two kingdoms in this world which are opposed to one another - the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. Each kingdom is ruled by one lord or master  - the Lord Jesus Christ who is the true "Light of the World" - or the false messiah and ruler who is called the "anti-Christ" and an "angel of light" who rules by lies and deception.

If we serve the Lord Jesus Christ he will open our eyes to the light of his truth and guide us on the course that leads to our true homeland and security with God. If we follow the course which is set by the world - a world which is opposed to Christ and blinded by Satan - then we will discover that sin, pride, and greed will lead us down a path of destruction, division, and death rather than life, community, and freedom.

Which kingdom will you serve - today and for all eternity? The world which passes away or God's kingdom which lasts for all time? If we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and King we become citizens of an everlasting kingdom which is governed by God's righteousness, peace, and love. Is your life submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?

"Lord Jesus Christ, you are my King and there is no other. Be the Lord and Master of my heart, mind, body, and soul. May I always seek to do your will and to serve your kingdom above all else."

Psalm 93:1-5

1 The LORD is king, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed, he is girded with strength. He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
2 your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.
3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring.
4 More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters, more majestic than the waves of the sea, majestic on high is the LORD!
5 Your decrees are very sure; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: My kingdom is not of the world, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.

"Listen, everyone, Jews and Gentiles, circumcised and uncircumcised. Listen, all kings of the earth. I am no hindrance to your rule in this world, for 'my kingdom is not of this world.' Banish the groundless fear that filled Herod the Great on hearing that Christ was born. More cruel in his fear than in his anger, he put many children to death (Matthew 2:3,16), so that Christ would also die. But 'my kingdom is not of this world,' says Christ. What further reassurance do you seek? Come to the kingdom that is not of this world. Do not be enraged by fear, but come by faith. In a prophecy Christ also said, 'He,' that is, God the Father, 'has made me king on Zion his holy mountain' (Psalm 2:6). But that Zion and that mountain are not of this world.
    "What in fact is Christ's kingdom? It is simply those who believe in him, those to whom he said, 'You are not of this world, even as I am not of this world.' He willed, nevertheless, that they should be in the world, which is why he prayed to the Father, 'I ask you not to take them out of the world but to protect them from the evil one' (John 17:15-16). So here also he did not say, 'My kingdom is not' in this world but 'is not of this world.' And when he went on to prove this by declaring, 'If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have fought to save me from being handed over to the Jews,' he concluded by saying not 'my kingdom is not here' but 'my kingdom is not from here.'
    "Indeed, his kingdom is here until the end of time, and until the harvest it will contain weeds. The harvest is the end of the world, when the reapers, who are the angels, will come and gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin (Matthew 13:48-41). And this could not happen if his kingdom were not here. But even so, it is not from here, for it is in exile in the world. Christ says to his kingdom, 'You are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world' (John 15:19). They were indeed of the world when they belonged to the prince of this world, before they became his kingdom. Though created by the true God, everyone born of the corrupt and accursed stock of Adam is of the world. [But] everyone who is reborn in Christ becomes the kingdom that is no longer of the world. For God has snatched us from the powers of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). This is that kingdom of which he said, 'My kingdom is not of this world; my kingly power does not come from here." (excerpt from TRACTATES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 115.2)

Meditations may be freely reprinted for non-commercial use - please cite: 
copyright (c) 2015 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers can be found here.

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