Summary: Our King and Kingdom are not impressive in the eyes of the world because they aren’t physical. Yet they are still powerful.
November 23, 2003 John 18:33-37
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” 36 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.” 37 “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.”
As Jesus stood before Caiaphas, the high priest put Jesus on the spot and said, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Being put on oath by the high priest, Jesus had to give a yes or no answer. (Mt 26:63) There was no room for hemming and hawing. So Jesus straight up said, “Yes, it is as you say.” He revealed Himself for who He was - no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. He was the Christ.
Again, in today’s text we find Jesus on trial before Pilate. Once again, Pilate puts him on the spot, and wants to know why the Jews hated him so much. So he asked Jesus straight up, “are you the king of the Jews?” Thankfully, Jesus didn’t just give him a straight up “yes” or “no” answer. Before Jesus said “yes,” He explained to him what kind of a king he actually was and what kind of a kingdom he had. We are living in a world that has a lot to say about Jesus - most of which is false and misleading. These simple verses before Caiaphas really help to clarify who Jesus is and what He came to do. Jesus tells us all about -
The King and the Kingdom
I. Are not of this world
The reason Pilate asked Jesus this question is because the Jews accused Jesus of wanting to lead the Jews against the Roman government. John 19 says that Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” So Pilate wanted to find out from Jesus exactly what kind of a king he was exactly claiming to be. I’m sure that as he looked at Jesus, he didn’t appear to be leading a rebellion. All he was doing was standing there and listening to people accuse him of all kinds of things. It wasn’t like the Jews to be overly concerned about the integrity of the Roman government. So there had to be more to Jesus than they were saying - Pilate wanted to find out what it was, and he asked Jesus as much - “are you the king of the Jews?”.
How did Jesus answer? “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 said, “my kingdom is not of this world” - literally kosmos. means “order”. Jesus said that His kingdom didn’t have to do with the way our world is ordered - it isn’t within the sphere of what we live by. You see, there’s a cosmos beyond this cosmos - called the heavenly realms. When Elisha prayed for his servants eyes to be opened - he saw that the hills were full of chariots and horses or fire all around Israel. (2 Kings 6) There was a whole other spiritual dimension that he wasn’t even aware of. That was what Jesus said His kingdom consisted of - another dimension.
This dimension is not physical. It has nothing to do with how big your muscles are or how fat your wallet is. Yet there are times where this dimension has become a part of our dimension. Angels have come in the form of men. They have revealed the Law. They have led men to safety. But they are not limited by the physical - by swords and walls and guns and governments. As Daniel stood before king Belshazzar, the hand of God penetrated every soldier and wall that was built in defense of the king and appeared on the wall. (Daniel 5) With this one hand he was able to change a many from being arrogant and powerful to a blubbering cry baby. Two angels were able to turn sex craving homosexuals into blind and helpless weaklings who couldn’t find a door. (Genesis 19) That was the kingdom Christ was talking about. He rules the angels and controls the demons. He orders another world - another cosmos.