John 18: “My kingdom is not of this world.”

John 18: “My kingdom is not of this world.”

From the earliest days of Jesus’ ministry, many believed Him to be a Savior, and He was, but they misunderstood His mission. Laboring under Roman domination and longing for the “good old days” when Israel was a dominant force among the nations, the Jews looked for a leader to break the iron shackles of Rome (see Daniel 2) and restore Israel to prominence.

Earlier in John’s gospel, the people sought to take Jesus by force and make Him their king (John 6). As this was never Jesus’ intention or mission, He withdrew Himself to hide in the mountains.

As we consider the immediate context of John 18 regarding time, Jesus had just entered the city to great fanfare and expectation in what is now called the triumphal entry. People laid their clothes in the streets as Jesus entered on a colt. Matthew 21:10 describes the entire city as being “moved,” utilizing the Greek word “seismos.” This is the word associated with measuring the intensity of an earthquake. Thus, there was a great anticipation on the part of the people  Matthew records the people praising Jesus as “the son of David” (Matt 21:9), and Mark records the people as giving praise for the coming of “the kingdom of our father David” (Mark 11:10). There is no question as to the intention of these statements and the anticipation of the people.

But alas! Jesus never had any intention of setting up an earthly kingdom and dominion. When questioned by Pilate concerning His kingship, Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If MY kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now My kingdom is not from hence.” Jesus settled the matter then and there… no earthly kingdom.

Neither shall there be any establishment of a physical kingdom in the future. Scripture denies that Jesus has any right or intention of ruling over a physical kingdom in Jerusalem (Jer 22:28-30; Matt 1:11).

Jesus is reigning now as King in His kingdom, the church (Matt 16:16-18). When He returns, He will not establish a kingdom, but rather gather it up and deliver it to God (1 Cor 15:23-24). Our citizenship in this kingdom is in the here and now, not at some point in the future.

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