Searching for the Wrong Kingdom

Rebecca Van Noord

Exodus 35:1–36:38; John 6:15–24; Song of Solomon 4:14–16

Because of the signs He performed, Jesus drew large crowds. And because of His signs, those who followed Him decided that He should be king. It seems natural and fitting, in a way, that Jesus should be revered and honored among the masses. Why shouldn’t He be worshiped on earth like He is in heaven?

But Jesus wasn’t interested in gaining glory and fame. He had no interest in the kingdoms of this world, as His temptation in the desert demonstrates (Matt 4:8). This scene reveals both His character and His mission—He was seeking His Father’s glory and following His will. “Now when the people saw the sign that he performed, they began to say, ‘This one is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world!’ Then Jesus, because he knew that they were about to come and seize him in order to make him king, withdrew again up the mountain by himself alone” (John 6:14–15).

It also reveals something about human nature. Although the crowds wanted to make Jesus king, they weren’t necessarily looking to revere Him. They were looking out for themselves. They wanted to install a new kingdom—one brought on by force and political revolution. They wanted their immediate physical needs met, but they didn’t necessarily consider the great spiritual revolution that needed to take place within.

Following Jesus shouldn’t be something we do because it’s somehow convenient for us. Following Jesus requires all of us—and it will often look like a life of sacrifice, not ease. The Jews who followed Jesus were challenged to accept Him, not as a prophet or a Messiah, but as the Son of God. The same crowd that followed Jesus obsessively, looking for signs, was eventually confronted by teaching that shook their understanding of this Messiah and what God expected from them.

Do you follow Jesus for reasons of your own? How can you follow Him for the right reasons?

This article was originally posted in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.