"My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place." (John 18:36)

Jesus is responding to Pilate, who is challenging Jesus' authority. And Jesus is documenting that his authority lies elsewhere, not within the physical world.

In this particular part of the exchange, Pilate said:
"Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?" (John 18:35)
So we can see from this text that the ecclesiastical Jewish priests were responsible for Jesus' arrest and him being handed over to the Romans. We've discussed this: It isn't an element of racism - which people killed Jesus. It is an element of envy - a particular ecclesiastical leader became envious of Jesus' authority.

And Pilate asks directly, what Jesus might have done to deserve this envy?

As such, Jesus' response is clear - Jesus' authority does not lie within the physical dimension. It lay within the spiritual realm. That place outside of the world of envy.

But does he mean "my kingdom" as though he is in charge in the spiritual realm? Certainly not. Jesus is talking of domain here.

We might compare this to how a child might say to their teacher: "My house is painted brown." The child is not saying that the house belongs to him directly - rather, it is his domicile: It is the place he considers his home.

At the same time, Jesus is admitting that he truly has authority within the spiritual realm. What kind of authority is that?

It is being the Supreme Being's loving servant. Just consider this statement:
"But from now on, the Son of Man [Servant of Humanity] will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” (Luke 22:69)
When a person says they will be seated at the "right hand" of someone else, what do they mean? They mean that they are their special (or intimate) servant - their "right hand man" so to speak.

In other words, Jesus saw his authority in relation to the Supreme Being.

This might be compared to a small child feeling very big and strong because his father is big and strong. Because they are on the same "team" so to speak - the son reflects the authority of his father.

This doesn't mean the son is the father - as many ecclesiastical sectarian institutions portend. We've discussed this aspect many times before (See this verse and commentary.)

But Jesus' statement indicates something that is hidden from the view of Pilate, the ecclesiastical Jewish priests, and many ecclesiastical sectarian institutions and their teachers:

The fact that Jesus' authority is derived from a loving relationship.

It is not as if Jesus is feeling he is so great because God is so great. It is not a position of power that Jesus is feeling about "my kingdom."

Rather, it is an exchange of a loving relationship with the Supreme Being. This gives Jesus authority. Because he is loving God and wanting to please God, he wants to do God's will.

This is an empowering situation.

We might compare this to how a young woman with no business background might marry a rich and powerful businessman, and soon she will be speaking to the press with the authority of her husband. Why does she feel this authority? Just because they are married? No, she has an intimate relationship with the businessman (theoretically), and this intimate relationship gives her the authority. She knows what will please her husband and therefore speaks with authority.

In the same way, because Jesus has an intimate relationship with God, he can speak with authority about his home being not necessarily in that physical realm, but within that relationship - within that domain or realm.

Yes, the Supreme Being created everything. Everything is part of His kingdom. Therefore, a person can be in the spiritual realm even when they are still within their physical body in the physical world - but only if they are living within a loving service relationship with the Supreme Being.

Such a person might appear as though they are in the physical world, but they are really in the spiritual realm. Their entire life is driven by wanting to please God. Certainly Jesus will return to the spiritual dimension after he leaves his physical body, but he is functionally within the spiritual realm where ever he may be.

The spiritual realm exists where ever and whenever a person has accomplished this instruction by Jesus:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)


(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of John without sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus  - translated from the original Greek texts.)