The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 18:33-37.
There is a considerable amount of “what happened previously” that unfolds or culminates in these specific Scriptures. Consequently I have included a number of these “what happened previously” Scriptures, in this particular post, so that a “fuller” picture of what took place previously and what is taking place now, is appreciated.
John 18:33-37 NASB reads as follows:
“Therefore Pilate entered the Praetorium again, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “You are the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you about Me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed You over to me; what have You done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, 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.” Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this purpose I have been born, and for this I have come into the world: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”
So here we see Pilate going back into his Praetorium and calling Jesus to follow him, so that they could converse privately, away from the ear shot of the accusing Jews. Bearing in mind that Pilate was the delegated representative of Roman authority, Pilate asks Jesus the primary question he would or should be concerned about. “You are the King of the Jews?” I am thinking that Pilate wanted to know if Jesus was any kind of a threat to Rome’s authority. Jesus answers Pilate with a question of His own. “Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you about Me?” If I was looking at the logic behind this question that Jesus asks, I’m thinking that Jesus wanted Pilate to state whether he personally was concerned or was he asking merely out of concern because of what others had told him about Jesus. I may be taking a bit of liberty here but if I was to paraphrase this question, I think it could be stated as follows: “Are you personally concerned as to whether I am a challenge to your authority or are you asking Me this question, because of what others have told you about Me? There’s almost an element of an inward understanding or unspoken words, that are recorded between Jesus and Pilate in this particular exchange.
One might wonder why it was that Jesus sought this clarification from Pilate? Jesus never does anything on the spur of the moment. There is always a reason for every word that Jesus says and be mindful that the words that Jesus spoke were the words that He was given to speak, from our heavenly Father (John 12:49). I can’t help but think that God wanted us to be aware of the motivations behind, what was being questioned here.
And I would think that Pilate’s response to Jesus’ question directly addresses or acknowledges that inward understanding. Pilate identifies that he himself is not a Jew, hence, even if Jesus is the King of the Jews, what with Pilate being the official representative of Roman authority, Jesus still does not represent to Pilate any authority or a challenge directly to Pilate himself, because the Jews in Galilee have been subjugated to be under the ruling Roman authority. So Pilate himself has no concern as to whether Jesus is a challenge to his own authority, but then addresses the focus of why Jesus is before him, namely that it is because the Jews themselves are concerned. So Pilate follows that up with a more direct question, which is literally “what have you done” specifically to upset the Jews?
It’s also interesting to note that the Jews had brought Jesus before Pilate, not because Jesus declared Himself to be their King, (albeit there were many who wanted Jesus to be declared their King (John 12:13-19 refers), but rather because Jesus had stated that He was equal with God as per the dialogue that was exchanged between the Jews and Jesus as recorded in John 10:24-33. In addition, as per John 11:47-53, the Jews were also concerned that if Jesus’ popularity continued, and more and more Jews believed in Jesus, then the Romans would come and take away their temple and their nation, because of the change in the status quo, not to mention the place that the Chief Priests and Pharisees themselves held in that nation. And further, John records in John 18:14 that it was Calaphas who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.
Jesus then directly responds to Pilate’s question. “Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, 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.” Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this purpose I have been born, and for this I have come into the world: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”
“My kingdom is not of this world”. Jesus repeats it, “My kingdom is not of this realm.” That would be a worldly kingdom or a worldly realm where worldly authorities and forces are in opposition.
Having got that issue out of the way, Pilate then asks Jesus, “So You are a king?” And Jesus answers in the affirmative. There are a ton of Old Testament Scriptures that speak of the kingdom that Jesus reigns over but due to the length of this post already, I will just quote a New Testament quote from Luke 1:32-33, as spoken by Gabriel to Mary:
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
“Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this purpose I have been born, and for this I have come into the world: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”
John 3:19-21 NASB comes to mind: “And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God.”
Considering that Jesus told us that He is the truth, one would do well to listen to His voice and what He has to say.
More to follow.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!
Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 52
The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 18:33-37.