Unlike the rulers of this age, Jesus only demands of us what he has already done–and only in a lesser and derivative way

Unlike the rulers of this age, Jesus doesn’t ask us to shed our blood for his empire; he instead gave his own life for his realm

via Incarnatio: What does Church have to do with Kingdom?.

I love the politics in this, but I have to ask if it is completely accurate. While Jesus doesn’t sacrifice us for his own glory or power, I think he does demand that we also be sacrifices.

But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” (Acts 9:13-16 ESV).

Later, the man under discussion, Paul,wrote about his call to suffer for the kingdom.

 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints (Colossians 1:24-26 ESV).

Jesus himself said that, to have authority in the Kingdom, one must follow his example, even his example of giving up his life.

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45 ESV).

And this is presented as a challenge and a promise to believers. We inherit glory through suffering just as Jesus did. Thus Jesus wrote to the church in Thyatira,

Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Revelation 2:25-29 ESV).

It is right to contrast King Jesus with other human authorities. But perhaps we need to remember that Jesus, while King, has blessed us to be kings ourselves. God made us all to have dominion. Jesus is uniquely king, but not exclusively so. He offers us all a royal road so that we gain a kingdom by serving–in some cases even to the point of death.

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