Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
My Kingdom Is Not of This World - Lent Midweek Five - March 18, 2015 - Text: John 18:33-37
Our text is John 18:33-37: “33So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” This is our text.
In confirmation we always have the question, “What does this mean?” followed by the answer, “We should . . . ” Interestingly, I have been told that in German the question really is, “What is this?” implying that we are not searching for some, perhaps mystical answer to the meaning of some bit of theology or doctrine, but we are asking what did God say and answering that God surely meant what He said. This evening we get to a very significant question, one that is misconstrued by those who teach the new theology of rapture and millenialism in our world today, that is the question concerning the kingdom of God.
To understand the Kingdom of God, we must first go back to the first promise of a Savior, a Messiah, a Christ. In Genesis we read of God creating a good, even a very good, that is a perfect world and we read how as long as God was running the show everything was running rather smoothly. When we get to Adam and Eve running the show in chapter three, we see how quickly they mess up the good that God had given. By being disobedient to God they brought sin and God’s curse on this once perfect world. And yet, because of God’s great love for us, we also hear God’s first promise to send a Savior, a Messiah, even a Christ and this promise was given in the Garden of Eden and this is the beginning of the Christian faith and church.
More than once God reiterated His promise. Notice He reiterated His promise, He did not make a new promise, nor a second promise, but reiterated His promise and narrowed the line of fulfillment of that promise by promising that through Abraham the Savior of the world, the Messiah, the Christ would be born. And with Abraham God expanded His promise. He told Abraham that his descendants would be a great nation a nation of kings and most importantly that the Savior of all people of the whole world would be born through His line.
To Abraham’s great grandson, God narrowed His promise even more so that through the line of Judah the Christ would be born. Also, through the line of Judah the promise was that there would always be a ruler on the throne, in other words, the king of Israel would be from the line of Judah, but this promise was never meant as a strictly earthly promise, but this promise was one that pointed heavenward, as we will see.
And ultimately, God promised that the Messiah would be born from the line of King David, thus He would be royalty, a King of Israel. And yet, even this promise was not meant simply as an earthly promise of earthly royalty and an earthly kingdom. Indeed, the promise was that the Christ would be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, indeed, prophet, priest and king.
At Jesus’ birth the fulfillment of the promise of the Christ began. According to the promise, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the home of King David, thus Jesus fulfilled this prophecy concerning the Savior, the Christ.
At the same time, as we follow the genealogies of the Gospel writers, Jesus was born of the line of Judah and King David, again, making Him one in the line of royalty and also fulfilling another of God’s prophecies concerning the coming Messiah, the Christ, the Savior.
Indeed, Jesus was born as King, and the visit of the Wisemen, the Magi confirmed Jesus royalty. Their gifts of gold, a gift for a king, incense, a gift for a priest, and myrrh, a gift for a prophet pointed to Jesus threefold office as prophet, priest and king. At the same time we see that Jesus did not seek any earthly rule. Jesus understood that His kingdom was an eternal kingdom, that His role of salvation was an eternal role, one of forgiveness of sins.
Jesus lived His life such that although He truly was and is King, even King of Kings, He lived as a servant. Jesus never lived His life seeking to be served while here on this earth. He came to seek and to save the lost. He came to serve, to heal the sick, to feed the hungry, to raise the dead, to comfort the downtrodden. Most importantly Jesus lived His life as our substitute. Everything He did, He did for you and for me because of His great love for us, His children, His creation.
After Jesus lived, suffered, died, and rose He ascended into heaven, the place from which He had descended in order to live for us. Jesus is now in heaven, not that we attempt to permanently locate Him in heaven, because He continues to be truly God meaning that He continues to be everywhere present. But now Jesus does live in heaven. He lives in heaven where He is being given all the glory that was His and that He had given up in order to take on human flesh and blood. He lives in heaven where He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Jesus is in heaven where He is watching over us, ruling over us and interceding for us. What great joy and comfort we have in knowing that Jesus never slumbers nor sleeps, but He is always watching over us. What great joy and comfort to know that even while there may be chaos in our world, Jesus is in heaven ruling over us. And what great joy and comfort to know that Jesus is in heaven where He too is praying and interceding for us before His and our heavenly Father.
We know that one day, one day soon, Jesus will come again. He will return to take us to heaven to live with Him for eternity as our great King. The fact of the matter is, we will meet Jesus, either at our own passing, or at His return, but that day will come and I believe that day will be sooner than we know and sooner than we might imagine. We are living in the end times, in the last days as Jesus birth ushered in these last days.
Until our Lord and Savior Jesus returns we wait with great hope and certainty. We wait in joy and certainty because we know that our great King, Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, Jesus has done it all and continues to do it all and gives it all to us. Indeed, we rest assured that our salvation has been taken care of because Jesus has taken care of all that needs to be done. We look, not into ourselves, but outside ourselves, to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, the One who accomplished our salvation for us.
Jesus is true God who gave up the glory that was His in heaven in order to take on human flesh and blood, in order to intervene in human history in order to save His creation, all mankind. God’s promise of a Savior was a promise which would find its fulfillment in an earthly kingdom, namely the kingdom of Israel and the line of King David. Yet, God’s promise was never a promise for an eternal earthly kingdom, rather His promise, His earthly promise always had as its ultimate fulfillment in an eternal heavenly kingdom, one in which Jesus would sit on the throne as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We rejoice and celebrate that by grace, through faith, given to us by our Lord, through His means of grace, we are a part of the eternal kingdom. We rejoice that as the Lord has taken care of all that we need for our eternal salvation, so He will continue in heaven to take care of all our needs as well. Our response is simply a response of faith and joy saying, to God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.