Summary: Why Jesus excelled and dominated all the other kings in this world...
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."
"You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
There is magnificence of Jesus Christ revealed in those verses! We will also learn why, as King, He excelled and dominated all the other kings in this world.
First, let’s find out the ordinary way of understanding those verses.
There are those who taught that the Kingdom of God is not yet operational in this world because of the words, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Notice, however, it does not say: “My kingdom is not IN this world.” It does say, “…not OF this world” -- it does not belong to this world! It belongs to Him – “My kingdom.” It is the Kingdom of God, not kingdom of this world.
And this kingdom did not come just from any place in this world, but “from another place” – in heaven. Primarily, it’s authority is not derived from this world , but from heaven. That’s why it is also called “kingdom of heaven.” People tend to argue over “where, what, when, etc…” of the kingdom, but Jesus, testified “to the truth” – to Himself, as the King.
Many tried to refer this “truth” to the true church, true mode of baptism, true manner of worship, true preacher, etc.
But in this context, could it be Jesus was thinking about Himself, as the King of the kingdom, when He mentioned “the truth,” just as He referred to Himself in other Scripture as ”the truth” (John 14:6)? In this Scripture, was He actually telling Pilate who He was, when asked: "Are you the king of the Jews?" in verse 33? Or, was He thinking about the truth of other things?
There is great possibility He was referring to Himself – not even to the truth about the kingdom – when He said He came “to testify to the truth.” And even in our time, especially to the elect, He was referring to Himself in those verses! He was making Himself – the God who reigns -- known to His people -- to those people who belong to Him – to “Everyone who is of the truth.. “ (John 18:37, NAS),
As He made Himself known to those He had chosen, He also made known to them the Father (Matthew 11:27; John 14:7). We also read, “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1:18, NIV).
He concluded His prayer in John 17: “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them" (verse 26, NIV).
As Jesus Christ is making Himself known in John 18:36-37, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (verse 37, NAS) – those who belong to the King – “of the truth” – listen to Him. He said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them..” (John 10:27, NIV).
Are we ready to listen to His words, as He testified to the Truth -- to hear His declaration about Himself?
He said, “MY kingdom…” -- Christ had a kingdom and, therefore, Pilate was right: Jesus was a king, then! As a king, He reigns specially over those people “of the truth” – who belong to Him. They belong to Him, because the King bought them at a great price “by His blood” (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Rev. 1:5).
No earthly king bought a people by his own blood, so they could belong to him. And He made the great sacrifice to have them not to oppress them, but to give them rest and delight in His presence!
But there is greater than that.
The King of kings excelled the other kings, because His kingdom is “not of this world.” His kingdom is “from another place” – from heaven – the divine realm. For He – the King Himself is “from another place” – from the divine realm, or as He expressed it: in John 8:23: “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world” (NIV).
Jesus Christ is not an ordinary human king!
John the Baptist knew it, when he said: “The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all” (John 3:31, NIV). He who is “above all” is God. Jesus who came from above is not just a man. He is also God. That’s why His kingdom is called the Kingdom of God.