This quarter, we focus on Jesus as our Soon-Coming King in our weekly devotional series. This week's devotional comes from John 13 - 29.
During the season of Christmas joy, we think and talk about the first coming of Jesus and about the kingdom He came to establish. Our reading this week fast-forwards us to the conclusion of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry, and again focuses on important truths about His kingdom.
As heaven’s emissary, Jesus came to establish outposts of His rule and reign in the midst of the most powerful military and political juggernaut that had ever existed in human history.
Before the crucifixion, Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you king of the Jews?”
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, NKJV).
In response to Pilate’s inquiry about his political ambitions, Jesus asserted that He was a king, that His kingdom was of a different realm, and that His followers were under the rule and reign of His kingdom, which was altogether different from Pilate's.
Jesus began His ministry by simply declaring that "the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (see Mark 1:15). In other words, God’s rule is present; change how you think, believe that you have access, and follow Him.
I’ve discovered a growing disconnect in the minds of many regarding being “Christian.” One will say, “I asked Jesus into my heart” or “I made a profession of faith” or “I asked Jesus to be my personal savior”—yet truly following Jesus is not on this person's agenda. He has “accepted Jesus,” yet he doesn't view life differently or respond to the world differently; he doesn't understand the implications of being translated into a new kingdom. The concept of daily residing under the reign of King Jesus is foreign.
Could it be that with so much talk about leaders, we forget to teach people what it means to be followers?
Certainly we need to train leaders, but how thoroughly are we training followers? Currently I am more interested in developing good followers than good leaders—beginning with myself!
I am not following well when I face challenges and conflict more like Oscar the Grouch—peering out from my garbage can, tossing trash and speaking trash, relying upon my meager resources—than like Jesus Christ. All the while, heaven’s wisdom and power are available if I will humbly follow the King and dwell under His reign.
I want to get out of the trashcan and into the kingdom. How about you? Let’s gain a fresh perspective and greater clarity during this Christmas season by remembering how Christ humbled Himself, following the will of His Father. Let's realign our purpose by becoming and developing followers of Jesus Christ.
By: Brandon Williams, senior pastor of Church on the Hill (Waynesboro Foursquare Church) in Fisherville, Va.
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