My kingdom does not belong to this world. 

According to Scripture, Cain, who killed his brother Abel, also founded the first city (Genesis 4:17).   From that point on, violence has been a part of every kingdom in history.   Just about any ruler you can name has used some form of violence in order to “keep the peace” and hold onto their power.   Even the great King David advised his son Solomon to assassinate his political opponent as a way of consolidating Solomon’s rule after David’s death (1 Kings 2).

No wonder Jesus said his kingdom was not of “this world” (John 18:36)!   He came as the “Prince of Peace,” not a calculating dictator (Isaiah 9:5).    This is what makes last week’s Feast of Christ the King so special.   It’s the celebration of a new kind of King, who is ushering in a new kind of kingdom.

Jesus’ kingship is unlike any we have ever seen.   Instead of exerting power over his people, he submitted himself to their power—even if it meant letting them put him to death.   And because he refused the temptation to lord it over his people, God raised him up and established him as the one true King over all of creation.

And the kingdom Jesus rules? It’s a kingdom of converted hearts.   It’s a kingdom of people who have renounced sin and violence and who are striving to live in peace and justice.

Of course, we’re not perfect.   We still commit sins.   We still resort to violence—even subtle forms of violence—to get our way.   But rather than use the threat of external violence to force us to behave, Jesus our King treats us with kindness and unexpected, undeserved, scandalous mercy.   He softens our hearts and asks us to love each other as he loves us—humbly, preferring each other to ourselves.

Jesus, King of the Universe, has come to overthrow sin through love, violence through peace, and injustice through mercy.   This kingdom is not of this world.   It’s far more glorious!

Word Among Us