Given by Rev. Madison Shockley November 21, 2021
When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus if he was King of the Jews, Jesus replied that his kingdom was not from this world. If so, then his followers would be fighting to prevent Jesus from being handed over to Rome. Jesus was not trying to have a seat as king in this world though. His followers were fighting to enthrone Jesus in every heart. There are two histories we are dealing with concerning this passage. The first is the history of events going on during Jesus’s time. Jesus died during the festival celebrating the Jewish freedom from Egypt, only to find themselves under Roman rule. The second is the history during the time John wrote his gospel. This was during the aftermath of the failed Jewish Revolt. The key question of this passage is who do you give your highest allegiance. The cry, Jesus is Lord, was a cry of resistance against Rome. During the Roman Empire, Caesar was considered a god. Today we must decide between the nation and Jesus. Civil Religion merges one’s allegiance to one’s nation with a religious devotion. They appropriate the dominate religious symbols. It is our faith that needs to hold our ultimate allegiance though. We are still fighting for Jesus. We use no weapons though. Like in the Rittenhouse case, a weapon just makes everything worse. We fight with love and for justice. We fight against wild ideas and conspiracy theories. We fight to redeem our opponents. We peacefully protest. We seek an empire where God’s will is done here on Earth. For this, we fight with our very being to reclaim the soul of the world.