Summary: Pentecost Last(B) - Christ’s kingdom is not of this world because it is a spiritual kingdom and because Jesus’ kingdom comes in all truth.
CHRIST’S KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD
John 18:33-37 - November 20, 2005 - Last Sunday of End Time / Christ the King
Dear Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Think a moment – consider your life – what is your greatest challenge? The greatest challenge, whether it is day to day or the future, might be different for each of us. One thing we might not think about is our greatest challenge today that faces the church and believers. The greatest challenge today for we as believers is to live as believers in a world that challenges Christianity. The greatest challenge today is not to live like the rest of this world, but to live with conviction concerning our Christian faith. This is our greatest challenge!
It was a challenge when Jesus was on the earth. It was a challenge for believers from the very beginning of Scriptures all the way through to present day times. We think of Paul and the early church. Paul first challenged those who were Christians. Then Paul himself was challenged as a Christian, to live as a believer. Christian living is a hard challenge for us today because of the fact that we live in a world that appeals to our senses. We put our confidence and trust in those things that we can see, feel and touch. These are tangible things. When Jesus taught about his kingdom, he taught it is something we cannot see with a naked eye. That is our challenge.
Today, we are going to learn more about that challenge. Paul puts the challenge this way: "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18). Now that is quite a challenge, isn’t it? Paul says we look at those things we can’t see. That is the challenge of our Christian life, to fix our eyes on the invisible kingdom of God. On this last Sunday of the church year, we are reminded that Jesus is our King. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus said, what is invisible, "My kingdom is not of this world." We are going to consider that thought—that:
CHRIST’S KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD.
We are going to learn again that
I. The kingdom of Jesus is a spiritual kingdom.
II. The kingdom of Jesus comes in all truth.
I. JESUS’ KINGDOM IS SPIRITUAL
These words carry on from Matthew (27:27-31 from today’s Gospel Lesson), even though they are in the Gospel of John. It is the same account that continues in both Gospels. Jesus is in his very last day before he is going to be put on the cross. Jesus is standing before Pilate who wants to know, "Why are you here? What have you done?" The people had handed Jesus over to the Roman government, because the church, because the people of the church, could not put anyone to death. They could bring all kinds of charges, but they could not kill Jesus. Jesus’ punishment was something the Roman government had to determine. They are waiting for Pilate to do just that.
Our text begins "Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, ’Are you the king of the Jews?’" First, Pilate wanted to know how powerful Jesus was. Was Jesus really a king? Is Jesus the one that controlled this angry mob? Or was he just another Jew? Jesus answers Pilate with a question: "’Is that your own idea,’ Jesus asked, ’or did others talk to you about me?’" Jesus wanted Pilate to think about what he was doing. Was he considering this justice, which was really injustice, because of his own authority and power; or was it because a crowd coerced him? The mob mentality was influencing Pilate. Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew?" Of course, Jesus knew that Pilate was not a Jew.
Pilate reminds Jesus that he was not making the charges. It was Jesus’ own people. Pilate said to Jesus: "It was your own people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?" Pilate didn’t know what Jesus had done. Pilate asked the crowd and the chief priests, "Why are you handing Jesus over to me?" The crowd said, "If he were not criminal, we would not hand him over to you." Pilate asked, "What are the charges?" The crowd answered, "Jesus is guilty because he is a criminal." They had no charges, so Pilate was in the dark. What had Jesus done?
Now Jesus begins to tell Pilate something that he would not understand. Pilate would not comprehend the truth about God’s kingdom. "Jesus said, ’My kingdom is not of this world.’" Pilate was ruling over an earthly kingdom. Pilate was temporarily in charge of the Promised Land. "Jesus said, ’My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.’" Jesus’ kingdom was from somewhere else. If it were so earthly and so important, Jesus servants would fight for him to be saved.