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; but now My kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36)
Jesus Did Not Bring The Army To Save Him
In a Roman hall of judgment stood one man regaled in the splendor of Roman authority and another man tied securely as a common prisoner. Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, sat in the seat of judgment to decide what to do with this man who stood before him. It was early in the morning as the inquisition began to discover the reason for such a commotion over one man. Pilate inquired of the Jewish leaders what charge they had against the man. The accusers claimed the man was an evildoer and deserved death. When Pilate told the Jews to charge the man according to their laws, the Jews demanded a Roman court so the penalty of crucifixion would be exacted against the accused. Returning to the Praetorium, Pilate asked the accused if he was a king. He also asked the man what he had done to bring the wrath of the Jewish people against him. It was then Jesus of Nazareth spoke a powerful and yet fearful statement of eternal truth. The kingdom Jesus came to establish was not an earthly kingdom as men see nations rise and fall. He was a King but the King of a nation of the people of God that would reign until the return of the Lord. Pilate would not understand the gravity of Jesus statement concerning His kingdom but those who live on in the Kingdom of Christ realize the incredible nature of His statement. The man from Nazareth declared that if His kingdom were an earthly kingdom His servants would fight against the whole of the Roman Empire and defeat all the armies Rome could muster. Jesus was the Son of God and He had at His disposal the army of the Lord God. The only thing Jesus had to do was ask for the Commander of the Lord’s army to bring his legions of angels to fight for Jesus and there would be no man left standing. Twelve legions stood at the call of the Son of God numbering nearly seventy-two thousand angels. One angel destroyed one-hundred-eighty-five thousand soldiers in the Old Testament and twelve legions of angels would easily destroy everyone who had the breath of life on earth. Jesus stood before a man of great power in the eyes of men as Pilate ruled over the region of Judea under the subjection of the Roman army. The man standing before Pilate could call the army of Heaven to march with Him and the Roman Legions would be helpless. If the kingdom of Christ was of the world He would never have been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. No man would have put chains on Jesus, tied His hands behind His back or manhandled the Son of God as a common criminal. Peter made a vain attempt at courage in the garden when he took a sword and tried to defend Jesus. Rebuked by the Lord, Peter was not acting according to the will of the Father. Jesus could have called twelve legions of angels then but He did not. Now the Son of God stood before a man with no authority before God and only by the grace of the Lord did Pilate breathe.
If Jesus wanted His servants to fight they would but He chose not to call the angels to deliver Him. His mission was not to deliver Himself but to deliver men like Pilate from the chains of sin. Only by giving His life a ransom for all men would Jesus show the power of His kingdom. His kingdom was not of this world and would never set up an earthly kingdom. The work of Jesus was to bring all men to God through His blood shed on a Roman cross. Pilate did not know the power of Jesus words when He told the governor His kingdom was not of this world. It would have terrified Pilate to the core if he knew the depth of what Jesus meant. The only reason Pilate was passing judgment over Jesus eventually condemning Him to the scourging and crucifixion is that the will of the Father demanded it. Jesus death was not a mistake. It was not the will of the Jewish nation to have Jesus killed. No man orchestrated the death of Jesus. From the heavenly throne of the Almighty God, Jesus stood before Pilate because God permitted it and Jesus allowed it. The Son of God had heavenly power at His call but He refused to give in to the temptation of circumventing the cross. Everything the cross represented had to be experienced by Jesus. The scourging was an incredible sacrifice of unbearable pain and Jesus faced it with faith in His father. When the soldiers placed Jesus on the ground and nailed Him to the cross Jesus endured the pain with trust in His father. Through the long hours of agony, torture and slow death Jesus gave His life to His Father. When it was finished, the Son of God died. Three days later God raised Him from the dead so that all men would not bear the unbearable pain of sin, the misery of death and the wrath of God.
There are no words to express the love man should have when Jesus Christ told Pilate that if His kingdom was of this world His servants would fight. This was a very real and terrible reality but Jesus chose not to call those legions. Because of that decision, that choice, and that sacrifice, all men have the hope of glory and eternal life. The kingdom of Christ is not an earthly kingdom but a kingdom of heavenly beauty that shows the sacrifice of the Son of God on a wooden cross. Jesus bore the sins of all men so that all men could be born again. The Son of God died to give life to all men. In the surrender of the armies of Heaven to defend Him, Jesus brought the power of God’s grace in full battle array against Satan and his army to complete destruction. In choosing not to allow His servants to fight Jesus opened the door for the victory over sin and death. Pilate would never know the power of the saving grace given through Jesus Christ. The words spoken by the man from Nazareth would never resonate in the heart of the Roman ruler and he would die alone and miserable. Thank God Jesus did not allow His servants to fight on that day.