“Jesus answered, “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;” John 18:36
This was Jesus explaining to Pilate why His disciples had not fought to prevent His arrest and imminent death.
The question is – if His kingdom, the same one He has asked us to seek as our utmost priority is not of this world, why then do we so very often seem to confront our challenges with earthly and secular agendas & strategies rather than with the spiritual?
I believe that the bigger picture in Jesus’ response was that His arrest, though physical, was not really about some earthly purpose but rather spiritual ones. Accordingly, being members also of that kingdom, we know that behind all that we go through in the physical is a spiritual and divine purpose. And Jesus, being aware of the spiritual purpose and the nature of the kingdom He stood for, was able to make the right decision in the face of the enemy’s ‘physical’ attack against Him.
We also, can only make the right call in the face of the enemy’s onslaught if we know and acknowledge the spiritual nature of our entire existence and that of the kingdom we represent here on earth.
The real purpose behind the arrest and death of Jesus was the salvation of men and their eternal destinies in God. And He endured the physical pain and shame He suffered in order to protect that spiritual purpose. We must look to God to be able to discern the truth behind the enemy’s attacks on our lives; for in our knowledge and understanding of it, we will find wisdom on how to navigate all that we must confront in life and how best to protect God’s divine purpose in the midst of it all.
Though the enemy often attacks us in earthly and physical ways – just as the arrest and death of Jesus was outwardly physical- yet our response ought not to be ‘physical’ but spiritual; and though we might need to take a few steps in the physical in confronting it, we do so with spiritual resources and an understanding of the spiritual nature of the physical attack.
Jesus understood that the adversary behind His arrest and death was Satan (the kingdom of darkness) and not the men and women instigated to arrest and kill him. That was why He didn’t encourage His disciples to ‘fight’ them as men. We also must discern who our real adversary is when we confront sickness, marital battles, career battles, financial battles, battles over our children’s lives and destinies, ministerial battles, bankruptcy, failure, overwhelming sinful habits, emotional battles, the battle of faith – for when we know the who, we are able to understand the why and hopefully, just like Jesus, conclude that ‘physical and human’ fights are needless given the spiritual nature of the kingdom we contend for.
Though the enemy attacks us in physical and tangible ways, let us firstly and largely ‘fight’ our battles in the ‘war room’ – on the altar of prayer, with our spiritual weapons, filled with overwhelming confidence in God and in His power to save and deliver us; with great faith let us activate and put to work that great authority of God that is our portion in Christ Jesus!
I pray that we affirm the truth that Jesus proclaimed in our opening text – that the kingdom entrusted to us – the one we live and contend for – is not of this world but spiritual and eternal….