Summary: Is Jesus a king? How does Jesus compare to government leaders of this world? What is the truth of Jesus’ reign?
Is God’s kingdom meant to just rule in our hearts or is there more to it? Is Jesus a king? How does Jesus compare to government leaders of this world? What is the truth of Jesus’ reign? Let’s examine Pilate’s questioning of Jesus in John 18:33-37 and what Jesus had to say about His kingdom.
King of the Jews
John 18:33 “Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’” Nathanael (John 1:49) and a large crowd called Him king (John 12:13). The military governor of Judea was worried about political threats to Rome.
Pilate governed the Roman province of Judea from 26-36 AD. The Roman province of Judea existed from 6-135 AD. Its capital was Caesarea on the northwest coast and not Jerusalem. Pontius Pilate was the 5th Roman Prefect of Judea. Archaeology and history record him as being an equestrian (a knight).
What Have You Done
John 18:34-35 “Jesus answered, ‘Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?’ Pilate answered, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?’” Selfish politics of this world destroys.
Jesus gave his life for others. Pilate caused terror. Jesus brings peace. Pilate led in violence. Jesus led in love. Pilate governed by the fickle will of Caesar. Jesus rules by the unchanging will of God. Are we blinded by worldly politics, or do we see Jesus’ reign of love?
Not from Here
John 18:36 “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm [not from here].’”
The politics of this world is not the politics of heaven. Jesus emphatically states that His kingdom is not “of” or “from” this world. Like a lawyer bulldozing a case, Pilate only heard Jesus admitting He was a king. Like worldly partisan politics, Pilate only hears facts that support his position.
Did Jesus mean that He rules in the hearts of men or that He is from above rather than from earth? Jesus’ kingdom is not “from here.” Coming from heaven, Jesus’ kingdom ultimately overrules all human authority. If His kingdom was from here, His servants would have fought for Him.
I am a King
John 18:37 “Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’”
Truth is elusive. Did Alexander Bell or Antonio Meucci invent the telephone? Was the first European to discover America Christopher Columbus or Leif Erikson? Did Henry Ford or Karl Benz invent the automobile? Did Pocahontas marry John Smith? Were the Wright Brothers or Gustav Whitehead the first in powered flight?
Do we want the truth, even when the truth is not what we want to hear? Do we recognize what Jesus says as true? Do we believe the Bible, or do we believe what the world around us says? Jesus’ rule is one of truth. He spins no political lies.
Jesus’ government is unlike any earthly governments; it comes from heaven. He is a king that gives what no human government in the entirety of human history has been able to give, salvation from all our problems. We enter His kingdom when we submit to His rule in our lives.
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