Monday, March 30, 2015

John 6:15 Kingship Declined

I and a young man were discussing various facets of Jesus’ life and ministry. Without actually mentioning John 6:15, he alluded to it and asked “Why didn't Jesus accept the kingship? He could have had a much broader influence on people. When they saw the type of king he would have and could have been, they would have flocked to him.”

I commended the young man for having such an intelligent question. It is not often I hear people give that much thought to scripture. Regarding the “influence” Jesus could have had, I asked him to consider: “If Jesus had accepted that position, would people be responding to Jesus because of the message he brought or because they might be in fear of his position as king?” He immediately saw the potential of being wrongly influenced by position. There is also the matter of free will. If Jesus had accepted rulership on earth obviously his rulership would require loyalty. People would no longer feel free to decide to accept him. But there are a few other points that his question hits on.

Both the books of Mark and Luke mention a time when Jesus was expelling demons from people. Both the accounts mention something very odd -- that Jesus would not allow the demons to identify him (Jesus) as the Messiah. Why? First, he didn’t need the testimony from traitors to his Father, but just as important, he wanted the people to believe based on their own observations and faith and not something as ominous as spirit voices.

In another instance, Jesus healed a man but strictly informed him not to tell anyone who had healed him. Again, why? In this case, “people were coming at him from all sides” because they wanted the physical benefits he offered, not because of the message of the Kingdom, which was his main focus.

Yet another point (I suppose there are several others that could be cited, but these are the ones that come readily to mind), is that Jesus himself already knew that his rulership would not be administered from earth. Although in context Jesus was speaking about the “source” as not being from Satan, it bears noting that Jesus knew his rulership would be administered from heaven.

Reviewing then, Jesus' rule would not be from earth and he wanted people to accept him for the message he brought, not the position he held or the selfish benefits people could enjoy. Although the Bible does indeed promise rewards for loyalty, no real and lasting relationship (even between one or more humans) can be based on such selfish motives.

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