His Kingdom

When Jesus first appeared in Galilee, he proclaimed the “Kingdom of God” – “Repent, for the kingdom is at hand.” In his ministry, death and resurrection, God’s reign began to invade the Earth. But this realm is of an entirely different nature to the political systems of this world. Moreover, on more than one occasion, Jesus refused the kind of political power that dominates this evil age, especially when Satan offered it by tempting him with sovereignty over “all the kingdoms of the world.”

According to the Gospel of Matthew, for him to attain absolute power over nations and peoples, all the Nazarene needed to do was “render homage” to the Devil and acknowledge his overlordship – (Matthew 4:1-10).

Cross Sunset - Photo by CRISTIANO DE ASSUNÇÃO on Unsplash
[Photo by CRISTIANO DE ASSUNÇÃO on Unsplash]

Most remarkably, at the time Jesus did 
NOT dispute Satan’s “right” to dispense political power, though he refused it all the same. Instead, he submitted to the path of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh. His ministry on the Earth would culminate with his death at the hands of the World Empire - (Matthew 4:8-11, Luke 4:5-7).


In this age, the price of power over others is submission to Satan’s authority and agenda. According to the Devil, the kingdoms of this world “have been delivered to me and I give them to whomever I will.”

Although he was the Messiah appointed by God to “shepherd the nations of the Earth,” Jesus refused this satanic offer. Scripture confirmed his calling to reign over this world, yet he rejected the kind of power valued so highly by the rulers and people of this world. But how could God’s designated king reign over rebellious nations and peoples without the military and economic might of the Almighty State? - (Psalm 2:6-8, Revelation 12:5).

In the four gospel accounts, rather than resort to the political means of this age, Jesus embraced the way of the Cross. In the “Kingdom of God,” true victory is achieved through self-denial, service to others, and sacrifice.

In his domain, “greatness” is characterized and measured by self-sacrificial service and acts of mercy for the benefit of others, including one’s “enemies.” Rather than threatening or dominating other men, Jesus “gave his life a ransom for many.” Moreover, his real-world example provides his disciples with the pattern for implementing God’s Kingdom on Earth and their achieving “greatness” in it.

However, the temptation in the “wilderness” was not the end of Satan’s political intrigues. Following his rebuff, “the Devil departed from him until an opportune time.”


After miraculously feeding a multitude in Galilee, certain members of the crowd planned “to come and seize him to make him king.” But Jesus walked away at the very moment the mob was determined to crown him. His refusal turned many minds against him.

The Son of Man would not become the militaristic messiah bent on destroying Rome that so many of his contemporaries craved. And the closer he came to his death, the more the fickle crowds rejected him as the Messiah of Israel. A “Suffering Servant” did not fit their concept of royalty and kingship, or their desire to see the Roman Empire destroyed - (Luke 4:13, John 6:15).

Prior to his execution, Pontius Pilate inquired whether Jesus was “the king of the Jews.” Before Caesar’s representative, he did not deny his kingly destiny, and he responded, “You say that I am a king, and for this, I was born.” But he qualified his kingship by stating, “My Kingdom is not FROM (ek) this world - (John 18:33-36).

That did not mean that his Kingdom was strictly “spiritual” or otherworldly, or that his messianic program was nonpolitical. But the source of his sovereignty was other than the political power that characterized and dominated the world of his (and our) day.

The “Suffering Servant” and his sacrifice brought light and redemption into the world, not Rome, and his Kingdom is ruled by the “slain Lamb,” not Caesar.

Pilate found no fault in the Nazarene. But at the instigation of the Temple authorities, the crowd demanded that Pilate release Barabbas instead, a man described in the gospels as a léstés (Greek) or “brigand.” It seems the priestly leaders of Israel preferred a violent political revolutionary to the Servant of Yahweh.


Contrary to the expectations of his contemporaries, Jesus “took on the form of a slave” and became “obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” Because of his choice, God bestowed on him “the name, which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

Thus, his exaltation to reign over all things “at the right hand of the Majesty on High” was preceded by his shameful death on the Cross.

Moreover, his disciples are summoned to live by the very same mindset displayed by him when he gave his life as a “ransom for many.” As Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” - (Philippians 2:1-11).

The choice before his followers is between the cruciform pathway trod by Jesus or the expedient and smooth highway offered by Satan. Jesus declared that when he was “lifted up” on the cross, then he would “draw all men to me,” not by seating himself on Caesar’s bloody throne.

Jesus is summoning all men and women to “deny themselves, take up the cross,” and follow him, the slain Lamb, “wherever he goes.” The way of the Cross is the only one that leads to citizenship in the Kingdom of God. All men who refuse to emulate his example by taking up the Cross are “unworthy” of him and unfit for inclusion in his unique and glorious Kingdom.



Abraham's Seed

No Middle Ground