Lenten Reader | Day 37

Not Of This World

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.”

John 18:33-37
The first words Pilate speaks to Jesus during this encounter are the question, “Are you the King of the Jews?” to which Jesus replies, “Is that your own idea?” 
The reason for Jesus’ question is to determine what Pilate is asking. If it is his question alone, it means Pilate wants to know if Jesus is simply a rebel of the state? But, if this is a question put to Pilate by the Jewish accusers of Jesus, the question means, “Are you the messianic king?” 
When Pilate disclaims ownership of the questions origin with the rhetorical question, “Am I a Jew?”, followed by the statement that it was the Jewish people and chief priests who handed Jesus over to Pilate, Jesus opens the door to the truth of why he came into the world. 
“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.” 
His disciples would stop all of this if that were the plan. If His kingdom were a physical kingdom. But it isn’t. Jesus makes it clear that His Kingdom is not here and now but looks ahead to His second coming and the life everlasting.  
Jesus – God incarnate, the Word, the creator of all things – has humbled Himself to become a man and subjected Himself to death on a cross for the sins of the world. The unmerited favor which is the grace of God toward His creation restores us to fellowship with Him – if we accept the grace which is extended to us through Christ. 
Indeed, a plan, a love, and act of grace and mercy that is “not of this world.” 
Mike Smith