Jesus’ Kingdom is not from this world (John 18:36) but at the same time, it is already present (Matt 3:2, 4:17). We must keep these two truths in front of us, both this week, and always.
Christians must not fight or wage war as other kingdoms and powers do, even if it would have saved Jesus’ life (John 18:36). If Jesus’ followers were not to take up arms to save him, how much more, then, should Christians never fight because of rage, hate, malice or fear?
The reign of Christ is not, and cannot be, about power over others. His kingdom is not FROM this world, to be sure, but it is being made more and more manifest in the world when we obey his commandments to love God and love our neighbor.
Permit me a story: I’ve been reading about Eleanor of Aquitaine recently, and her relationships with kings and crusaders. I tend to think that she was doing the best she could in the context into which she was born. But that context is one in which Christian rulers sought to broaden their own power and riches by using a veneer of Christianity, the Church and fear of outsiders to do it. This use of cultural Christianity to build up individuals’ power and wealth is the exact opposite of the reign of Christ.
As David said, “The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me: One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land (2 Sam 23:3-4).
When rulers actually follow the example of Jesus, acting with justice in the fear of God, it is as if a new dawn has broken.
Ultimately, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is lord. Right now, the Kingdom is at hand and being expanded by those who work justice, love their neighbor and love God.