Russia Invades Ukraine

February 28, 2022 at 5:15 am Leave a comment


Credit: Getty Images

Last Thursday, the world changed.

When Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Russia’s neighbor to the southwest, Ukraine, tanks rolled in, troops marched in, missiles were launched, military and civilian casualties were sustained, and the world stood aghast. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg thundered in response to the invasion:

Russia has attacked Ukraine. This is a brutal act of war. Our thoughts are with the brave people of Ukraine … NATO is the strongest alliance in history, and make no mistake we will defend every ally against any attack on every inch of NATO territory. An attack on one ally will trigger a response from the whole alliance.

Certainly, Russia’s aggression has put much of the world on edge.

Like Ukrainians today, ancient Jews were no strangers to invaders. First it was the Assyrians who invaded northern Israel. Then the Babylonians invaded the southern half of the nation. Then the Persians conquered the Babylonians and ruled Israel followed by the Greeks who conquered the Persians. By the first century, it was the Romans who were occupying Israel. Also like Ukrainians today, ancient Jews struggled and suffered under a steady stream of invaders. This is why so many ancient Jews were looking for a militarized Messiah. They wanted someone who could depose their intruders.

Jesus, however, did not turn out to be that kind of Messiah. As He told Pontius Pilate when He was on trial:

My kingdom is not of this world. (John 18:36)

Often, it is assumed that Jesus was waxing poetically about some “pie-in-the-sky” otherworldly kingdom that sounds nice theologically, but is of very little value practically in a world where realpolitik rules. But this interpretation of Jesus’ words is a misinterpretation of Jesus’ words.

When Jesus says His kingdom is not of this world, He does not mean that His kingdom has no effect in this world. Quite the contrary. Jesus’ kingdom is over all earthly kingdoms, which means that every earthly kingdom – both ruthless and righteous – will not and cannot escape accountability to Jesus’ eternal kingdom.

Injustices will be righted. Lives taken will be vindicated. And Jesus will be our peace. As our world grapples with yet another war, may this be our hope.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

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