Summary: In his exchange with Pilate Jesus revealed some important aspects regarding the nature of His kingdom.
1) Jesus’ kingdom is one of integrity (28-32). Vs. 28-‘by now it was early morning’. Think of the fact that this had been going on all night. Some of you may have pulled ‘all-nighters’ before. At this point Jesus has already been up for 24 hours and the worst is yet to come. Think about how you might be feeling at this point. The Jews had been conducting this illegal trial all night. They made sure they conducted this trial during a time when most would be home and in bed, none the wiser about what was going on lest someone detect and object to their evil schemes. “The Jews wanted to avoid ceremonial uncleanness”. Ironic-they are conducting an illegal trial yet here they are concerned about being ceremonially unclean. Matt. 23:23-28. The religious leaders represented God. Therefore, in essence they represented the royalty of God’s kingdom. They were poor representatives of that kingdom. They lacked integrity. What about us? Do we compromise in big areas but staunchly hold to “lesser” areas? Are we more concerned about looking clean than actually being clean? Scandalous events involving royalty bring shame to the kingdom. Kingdoms suffer when its subjects are a poor representation of the king. Vs. 30-“If he were not a criminal”. They evaded the question because they knew they wouldn’t have an adequate charge that would be sufficient for Pilate to sentence him. Do we evasive when someone asks us certain things? Do we change the subject? Do we justify, rationalize or minimize? “What charges are you bringing?” The fact is they had nothing. Matt. 26:59 says their plan was to present false evidence so they could put him to death. They had what was in their mind the charge of blasphemy but they knew that wouldn’t matter to Pilate. They were under Roman rule so the ability to enact the death penalty was out of their control. They had to make false accusations of Jesus being a threat to Caesar in order for Pilate to take them seriously and grant them their wish of putting Jesus to death. This shows their lack of integrity. Making false accusations and having bitterness and hatred toward one another are not welcome in the kingdom of Christ. Making false accusations against the king won’t work in the kingdom either. Like the Jews did with Jesus, people today “bring false charges” against God. ‘Why did God allow this to happen to me? When is God going to bless me?” Thus they bring a charge that God is unfair. “Why does God allow all this evil in the world? If God is so ‘loving then why does he send good’ people to hell?” Thus they charge God with being a hypocrite and being cruel. Just like the Jews, we have no basis for bringing charges against God. He is not guilty of any wrongdoing. We just need to realize we have a lack of understanding. We need to say as Pilate did in vs. 38, “I find no basis for a charge against him”. King Jesus’ life was marked by morality and integrity. Those in his kingdom are to be characterized by the same. Jesus’ kingdom is one of integrity.
2) Jesus’ kingdom is a Spiritual one (33-36). “Are you king of the Jews” Luke 23:2 talks about the Jews planting the seed that Jesus was a threat to the establishment. So Pilate is concerned that Jesus may be setting up his own kingdom and starts questioning Jesus. Jesus makes it clear to Pilate that his kingdom is a heavenly one. John 6 says that after the people saw Jesus’ miraculous signs they realized that he was the one they had been waiting for. In vs. 15 it states that they intended to come and force Jesus to become king. The people thought Jesus would be the political Messiah who would bring them out from underneath Roman rule and reestablish the kingdom like it was in the days of David and Solomon. Even Jesus’ own disciples wanted Jesus to establish an earthly kingdom. They didn’t get it. If Jesus wanted to establish an earthly kingdom he could’ve done so by now. If Jesus’ plan was an earthly kingdom he wouldn’t have told Peter to put away his sword. An earthly kingdom conquers by force but a spiritual kingdom conquers by influence and persuasion. The Crusaders took up arms during the Middle Ages to advance the kingdom of God. They didn’t get it. Luke 17:20-21. The kingdom was not something that was going to be seen externally. It was spiritual; it was internal. This by no means it is any less literal. “It is within you”; in the person of the Holy Spirit. This can also be taken as “it is among you” meaning that Jesus was among them and therefore the kingdom of God is found in Jesus. With a spiritual kingdom comes a spiritual war. With a spiritual war comes a spiritual enemy Ephesians 6:12 “our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” And we fight this spiritual war with spiritual weapons. 2nd Corinthians 10:3-5. We fight against Satan who sets himself up against Jesus. We are setting out to demolish spiritual strongholds that hold people captive. We fight spiritual battles by putting on the spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-18). Those of us who are fighting for Jesus’ kingdom are not focused on winning territories; we’re focused on winning souls. How do we advance the kingdom of Jesus? By going to the entire world and preaching the good news. How do we conquer the war on terror? Not by the sword of steel but by the sword of the Spirit. Being a part of Jesus’ kingdom is not something futuristic; it’s already established. Jesus said in Matt. 28:18 “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me”. “Has been given”. It’s already established. Don’t worry; Jesus is in control. “In the mid-17th century, Oliver Cromwell sent his secretary to the continent on some important, state business. One night during his travels he found he was unable to sleep. According to an old custom a servant slept in his room and that evening the servant was sleeping soundly. In the middle of the night the secretary woke the man up to tell the servant that he could not rest because “I am so afraid something will go wrong with the diplomatic mission,” “Master,” said the valet, “may I ask a question or two?” “Of course.” “Did God rule the world before we were born?” “Most assuredly He did.” “And will He rule it after we are dead?” “Certainly He will.” “Then, master, why not let Him rule the present, too?” The servant’s reply stirred the secretary’s faith. He found a deep sense of peace, and in a few minutes both he and the servant were sound asleep.” Jesus’ kingdom is better because it’s more powerful and it’s better because his kingdom will never fade away. Dan. 7:14, “He [Jesus] was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Empires come to an end. Dynasties last for a time and are no more. The kingdom of Christ will last forever.