John’s Gospel: Reflections on Chapter 10 (“My kingdom is not of this world”), Part 2

How did God decide to solve the world’s problems?

(Eze 34:23-24 ESV)  23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.  24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.

“My servant David” is, of course, the Messiah: Jesus of Nazareth, God himself, reigning as King and Shepherd.

The solution to corrupt, idolatrous government is not a better king sitting on an earthly throne. The solution is God as King, sitting on his heavenly throne.

This is why Jesus said,

(John 10:14a ESV) 14 “I am the good shepherd.”

(John 10:30 ESV)  30 “I and the Father are one.”

Jesus came to take on the role God said he himself would fulfill, to be both the Shepherd and King — but not of an earthly kingdom.

(John 18:36 ESV) 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.”

And so here’s the moral of the lesson. God is well aware that earthly kings and prime ministers and presidents cannot call a nation to God. Maybe for a while. For a great king, maybe even for a generation.

But over the long term, people do not come to God by the power of the state. Even if the government were to ban all other religions and impose Christianity by the sword, the reform would last, at most, a generation. There might be magnificent buildings and well-paid ministers, wonderful, state-funded relief programs, but would anyone really be changed?

If you doubt me, check the history of Europe. How well has state-mandated, state-funded religion worked? You know, in Europe. Or did you forget that the irreligious continent of Europe was once the home of the Reformation — and religious wars. And most European churches there were once stated funded, even mandatory. The US was largely colonized by Europeans fleeing religious persecution from fellow Christians in Europe.

The state money kept the appearance of Christianity alive much longer than the reality. After all, it was Lutheran Germany that brought us two world wars, the Franco-Prussian war, and the extermination of millions of Jews.

It’s a failed strategy. It doesn’t work. It will never work.

Therefore, we must stop seeking salvation, redemption, and righteousness in the political system. The fact that the president is Christian or not is utterly beside the point as to whether Jesus is King. The fact that Congress passes holy or unholy laws says nothing about whether Jesus reigns.

I don’t know what anyone means by the U.S. being a “Christian nation,” but I’m pretty sure I want no part of it. I’ve read my history. I’ve read Ezekiel and 2 Kings.

Combining politics and religion is a disaster. God separated them when he sent Jesus. We should not try to undo what God has done.

Jesus’ point to the Pharisees is that they were about to lose their power because they, like their ancestors, had utterly failed to shepherd God’s children. But Jesus did not propose to put other, more holy people in power. No, he would ascend to claim the throne himself.

There is but one Kingdom, and God reigns with Jesus as co-regent at his right hand. Either we recognize God as King and bow before him — or not.

The state and the public schools and bureaucrats can’t change God’s place in the universe or whether we worship him. Indeed, their support is not only not needed, it’s not all that helpful.

The nations of Israel and Judah are replaced, in spiritual terms, not by the USA or any other contemporary nation-state, no matter how Christian its citizens. God replaced those nations in his scheme of redemption with a Kingdom that’s not from this world — the church, ruled by Christ.

And that is the point of the gospel.

(Isa 52:7 ESV)  7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

It’s not about who wins the next election. It’s not about which party gains 50.1% of the vote. It’s about whether we bow before the King who reigns: the God of the universe.

The path to the abundant life is not better economic policies and a new chairman of the Fed. It’s the expansion of the Kingdom. It’s serving Jesus as King.

Indeed, it’s being like the man born blind — bowing at the feet of Jesus to worship, even though he’d just lost everything.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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