Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. John 18:33-38
The Jewish leaders had no authority to kill Jesus. They turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator of Judea. From this conversation, we get the feeling that Pilate really didn’t want to be involved in the issue, yet couldn’t really get out of it.
Pilate had one angle to pursue: if Jesus regarded Himself as some kind of king, then perhaps He was bringing about an uprising that would threaten the Roman Empire. That would be reason enough to execute Him.
While Jesus brought the Kingdom of God, He never claimed to be a king. Others referred to Him as being the “King of the Jews,” but Jesus never embraced that title.
In fact, Jesus appeals to Pilate’s reason. If Jesus were a king, then wouldn’t this be the time that His followers would start an uprising? Wouldn’t that be normal king-like behavior? Pilate was baffled.
Pilate asks an honest question, “What is truth?” Jesus had done nothing that should be punished. The Jewish leaders were seeking the death penalty. Jesus was willing to die, but there just wasn’t a rational reason to kill Him.
Don’t you think that Jesus could have run circles around the religious leaders and the Roman government? Innocence is not difficult to defend if the person is actually innocent. No one was more innocent than Jesus. But, His mission wasn’t to right the wrongs against Him. His mission was to right the wrongs of everyone.
Jesus faced His accusers calmly and reasonably because He knew the will of His Father. He had settled everything in the garden. There was no doubt. There was no second-guessing. Now was the time for obedience and submission.
What have you been fighting against? Are you sure that you’re in the right fight? Are you sure that it should be a fight at all? Where do you need to be assured of God’s Will? How have you sought to discover God’s Will?
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