April 17, 2014

A True and Other-worldly Kingdom

John 18:28-40

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
—John 18:36


In the three-act play Our Town by Thornton Wilder, the audi-ence senses through the narrator that there is more going on than meets the eye. There’s more than a simple story being presented. In other words, the drama is taking place within the bigger drama of real life.

What happens to Jesus in our story today is dramatic. Jesus has already been betrayed, arrested, questioned, and assaulted. He is sent to stand trial before Pilate, the Roman governor, who also questions Jesus. Now, Pilate can’t quite figure out why this non-threatening figure would cause the Jewish leaders so much concern. Pilate must have found it amusing and even ridiculous that Jesus claimed to be a king.

Sadly, Pilate could not see the whole picture. He could not see the bigger drama unfolding around him. Pilate could not see beyond the Roman Empire to the kingdom Jesus was bringing in. We might say that what Pilate couldn’t see was even more real and true than what he could see.

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus’ kingdom is not established or maintained by military might. Jesus’ kingdom runs on an economy of love and grace. And it cannot fail. Our lives today are under Jesus’ reign—within his true, other-worldly, and eternal kingdom. What a great comfort and joy!

Eternal God, we rejoice that Jesus is King and that his kingdom is established by the power of love. Equip us for your kingdom work, we pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Ruth Boven

Ruth Boven serves as minister of congregational life at LaGrave Ave. CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband, Greg, have two adult children. They find rich purpose in urban ministry and delight in enjoying the wonders of God's good creation.

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