Holy Week Commentary Series (Part 6) – Good Friday: The King of an Invisible Kingdom

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As I mentioned before, the common (mis)understanding of the mission of the Messiah was that it would be political. Judas certainly wasn’t the only one with that expectation. Even Jesus’s brothers encouraged him to stop hiding and go to Jerusalem to make himself known. (John 7:3-5)

The kingdom of God was a hot topic throughout Jesus’s ministry and He made it a very prominent subject in his teachings and parables. People often asked him about when it would finally be established, how one is to recognize it, how one can be a part of it, etc.

Early in His ministry, a man named Nicodemus came to Jesus to ask about this very issue. (John 3:1-21) The name Nicodemus comes from the Greek word for victory (nikos or nike, like the shoe brand) and people or multitude (demos as in democracy). That’s an interesting name for a man whose conversation with Jesus is representative of those seeking victory over the condition of common people. It’s also interesting that Nicodemus was Archon of Judea (translated as “ruler of the Jews” in the King James version), and as Jesus called him, the Teacher of Israel (KJV says “master of Israel”). He was a leader of the Jews both politically and ecclesiastically. Sanhedrin is a Greek word and comes from syn– (with) hedra (convening, sitting together). There were various sanhedrin councils in the territory of Judea at the time, and Nicodemus was a member of the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. He was the equivalent of a Supreme Court Justice, Senate Majority Leader, and Cardinal/Apostle/High Priest all rolled into one.

Nicodemus was steeped in literalist tradition. He was as formally educated and politically savvy as they come. However, in esoteric spiritual matters, his wisdom was limited and his understanding was immature, so he struggled to understand Jesus’s responses to his questions. According to the KJV, Jesus told Nicodemus that people must be born again to see the kingdom. The actual Greek words recorded in the original texts say that unless people are born upward (anothen), they cannot perceive (idein) the kingdom. Perceiving that the way to the kingdom is actually an esoteric quest is the first step. (Luke 17:20-21) The other steps require more births into even higher levels of consciousness, the highest of which is Christlike love. This is why in the scriptures, the heart is the seat of wisdom.

Entry into this visible world requires water, spirit, and blood, and symbolically, so does entry into the invisible kingdom. (Moses 6:59-62) Water baptism shows humility and willingness to follow the instructions of the King, the baptism of spirit is a symbol of a complete transition of desires into harmony with the law of love (which is the just law of His kingdom), and baptism of blood represents the sanctifying sacrifice that is required to reach the throne at the end of the way. (Mark 10:36-39)

In his last hours of mortal life, Jesus was asked by Pilate if he really was a king. John 18: 36-37:

36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

That kingdom is still being found and joined one truth-hearing soul at a time.

For part 7 in this series, click here.