"My kingdom is not from this world." The word kingdom has a tendency to trip us up. History and geography teach us that kingdoms are places on a map that are ruled by monarchs. With that understanding, Jesus' comment to Pilate could lead someone to believe that Jesus' kingdom is in some otherworldly locale.
Jesus' ministry demonstrates that the kingdom or reign of God cannot be limited to any particular geographical or spatial boundary. Rather, the kingdom of God exists any time or in any place where God's hopes and dreams are made real in the lives of others.
A friend recently pulled up to the drive-thru window at the local coffee shop and the barista handed them a cup of coffee with a smile and said, "No charge. The person in front of you paid for it!" They were blown away by this very simple, random act of kindness. They didn't know Their benefactor and he didn't know them, but in a small, strange, caffeinated way, they experienced the kingdom of God. This simple act of generosity in the drive-thru lane offered a glimpse of God's own generous heart and the life to which we are called.
God of surprises, your grace knows no limits. We thank you for the ways in which your love breaks into our well-ordered lives and gives us glimpses of your kingdom. Use us to make your love real in the lives of those who are bound by darkness and fear. Amen.
John 18:33-37 (NRSV)
33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"
34 Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?"
35 Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?"
36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here."
37 Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."