5/3 John 18:36

36 Jesus 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."

Governor Pilate was interrogating Jesus to see if he was guilty of sedition against the Roman government. Others before Jesus had claimed to be the Messiah and had started militant insurrections. In most Jews' minds, the Messiah would be a king as well as a spiritual leader. Pilate surely had informers who told him about Jesus. Pilate asked if Jesus was a king and why the Jewish leaders had turned Him in. Jesus' reply was our verse for today. It assured Pilate that Rome had nothing to fear from Jesus. Jesus' kingdom is a spiritual kingdom.

The church has had trouble in history when it forgot this saying of Jesus. The Crusades and the Inquisition are always brought up as an example of how Christianity is just as evil and destructive as other religions. The problem with that accusation is that those examples are contrary to Jesus' teaching and are therefore not true Christianity. Whenever people try to get Christians to rally to fight for an earthly kingdom, they are asking them to ignore Jesus' instruction.

Our battle isn't against people (2 Corinthians 10:4). The battle is spiritual, and we will win it with prayer and perseverance. Our enemies are defeated by love and by our examples. The world thinks this is naive, but the Roman Empire would fall to Christianity by those very means. We resist spiritual forces in the heavenly realms through prayer. We conquer one soul at a time through love and the Word of God.

Don't be fooled by those who tell you that we must establish God's kingdom by force or laws. That kind of thinking only gives our opposition a reason to speak against us. Follow Jesus' example. Man's reign over the earth will one day end, and Jesus will rule over all.

Consider: If force were the way to deal with evil, Jesus would have used His angel army (Matthew 26:53). The time will come for force when every last soul has decided for or against Jesus (Revelation 19:11-16). Then Jesus will lead us into a battle of judgment. Until then, souls must be won by the Word of God and prayer.