“Give us aid against the enemy,
for the help of man is worthless.” (Psalm 108:12)
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)
In the past months, we have witnessed the collapse of kingdoms and regimes: first Tunisia, then Egypt, and now Libya. This week, we are witnessing the historic revolution of the Libyan people against their leader of more than forty years, who is using violence against his own people to retain control.
In the New Testament, many of the Jewish people in Palestine, expected Jesus to be the revolutionary that would overthrown the oppressive Roman regime. In fact, before Jesus ascended into heaven, his disciples asked him, “Lord are you at this time to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Throughout Jesus' ministry his disciples had expected Jesus to lead the revolution that would free them from the oppression.
However, Jesus came to bring a different kind of kingdom-not a kingdom won through violence, but a kingdom won through sacrifice. When Jesus faced death and many wondered why he didn't defend himself with force, Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36).
The Kingdom of God is not a kingdom of violence, but a kingdom of peace. The spiritual war is won through sacrifice, not self-assertion and retaliation against opponents. As Paul would say, God's kindness leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). We are drawn away from evil and pulled towards God by the strength of God's love and kindness-not through God “beating us into submission.”
Indeed, as Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. As we follow the teachings of Christ, such as “love your enemies,” or “pray for those who persecute you,” we are revolutionaries, but not of the worldly sort. In Christ, we demonstrate that evil has been conquered, and will not stand eternally.