The Kind of Kingdom Jesus Resisted

After Jesus miraculously fed the 5,000, "Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray" (Mark 6:45-46).

Remember that Jesus and His apostles had just returned, tired and weary from preaching to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As multitudes flocked around them, the apostles had petitioned Jesus to send the multitudes away, Mark 6:36. But Jesus, realizing that the multitudes were like sheep with no shepherd, had compassion on them, taught them, and then fed them.

After the multitudes had been provided for, Jesus sent His apostles away to a much-needed rest, and He also sought rest, solitude, and an opportunity to pray in a quiet atmosphere, away from the crowds.

John informs us of another reason Jesus found it necessary to flee from the crowd at that time: "When Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone" (John 6:15). Strange as it may seem, numerous students of the Bible, even in our time, have the mistaken notion that Jesus wanted to be an earthly king. This, Jesus repeatedly refused to do. He came to be a king, but not a worldly king in a physical kingdom. Jesus' kingdom is a spiritual reign in the hearts of men who willingly submit their wills to His.

When Jesus began His earthly ministry, Satan showed Him all the earthly kingdoms and their power, and promised it would all be His if He would worship the devil, Luke 4:5-8. Jesus declined.

After the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus is once again offered the opportunity of becoming a political ruler. He slipped out of the crowd, and once again declined to become an earthly monarch, John 6:15.

Still later, in response to a question by the Pharisees, Jesus tried to get them to understand that His kingdom is not a political, military reign to be manifested in a manner observed by those who are worldly-minded. His kingdom is within -- within the hearts of those who make peace with God, Luke 17:20-21.

When Jesus stood accused before Pilate, Pilate asked Him if He were a king. Jesus indicated that indeed He was. In fact, He was born to be a king -- but that His kingdom is not of this world, John 18:33-38. Pilate understood that Jesus' kingdom did not rival that of Caesar. Jesus' rule is spiritual, not political, and His army is spiritual, not carnal. Every Christian has a dual citizenship, rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" (Matt. 22:21).

By Clarence R. Johnson Via The Susquehanna Sentinel, September 7, 2003

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