John 18:28-38 28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.
John 19:14-16 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
Last week, I shared with you about the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry at His baptism. The Kingdom of God was at hand. Jesus of Nazareth was revealed! The means of our salvation was finally publicly made known as Jesus came onto the world stage and He began to perform miracles and teach people the Word of God in the nation of Israel and surrounding it. But our salvation is not found in just following the teachings of Jesus or seeing signs and wonders performed by Him but in what this god-man has done for you and for me. And this is the significance of Easter. We are not commemorating a religious leader or a set of teachings but we are reflecting on this historical event that occurred over 2,000 years ago that established Jesus’ Kingdom.
There are many different kingdoms in this world but Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world as He said to Pilate the Roman governor in John 18:36. Pilate questioned whether Jesus was the King of the Jews. Pilate points out that if Jesus was only the King of the Jews it didn’t reflect very good upon Him that His own people and the chief priests had delivered Him over to be killed (verse 35). But Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world and Jesus confirms this to Pilate by telling him in verse 36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
Jesus stood before Pilate alone. He acknowledged to Pilate that He was a king (verse 37) but of a different kind of kingdom of which at that time it appeared there were no subjects. No one defended Jesus. No one fought for Him as Jesus was facing imminent death. His disciples had fled for fear of their own lives and none of the women who followed Jesus stood up to the Jewish authority. Pilate was speaking with Jesus whom He recognized as a man of authority but who was this man who claimed to be a king of an empty kingdom?
Over three and a half years, in spite of all the amazing miracles that Jesus had performed and all of the teaching that demonstrated a unique authority from God as He taught as one with authority and not as their scribes (Matthew 7:29), Jesus stood before Pilate without a single servant fighting for Him. There was not a single person in the nation of Israel or in the entire world within that generation that stood with Jesus. And there is not a single person throughout any generation that could have stood with Jesus in His defense. Why? Because all of mankind has been corrupted by sin. All of us have been defeated. All of us were born with a sin nature that is prone to evil and turning away from God. The devil has defeated us all. All of us have been born into a kingdom where darkness reigns. All of us by nature are not in this Kingdom where Jesus is King. Jesus, as the King of a kingdom which is not of this world, was flogged and beaten alone, He was sentenced to death alone, and He went to the cross and died alone- a king of an empty kingdom.
But He did not remain alone and His kingdom would not be an empty kingdom! On the Lord’s Day, on Sunday, He rose again! His relationship to all of His disciples was restored as He appeared to them! When He rose again He bore witness to the truth- the truth that He had proclaimed to them before He rose from the dead. Pesus said to Pilate in verse 37-38, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Jesus bore witness to His disciples that He had died and rose from the dead in order that they could be forgiven of their sins and be transferred into His Kingdom- the kingdom of His beloved Son. This is why He had to die:
Colossians 1:13-14 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The darkness had been overcome! The Kingdom of God had been formally established! Our sins were placed upon Jesus’ body as He died and He bore our punishment and through faith we receive His righteousness. This is the only way to enter into this Kingdom where Jesus is King- by hearing this truth and believing it, by listening to the voice of Jesus Christ and believing in what He has done for you and for me. There is no other way to enter into this eternal kingdom that is not of this world. But so many people know nothing of this Kingdom that Jesus speaks of. They think that Jesus’ kingdom is of this world. They say as Pilate said to Jesus in verse 38, “What is truth?” They are still in darkness and will not listen to the voice of Jesus. If this is you, repent and believe. Come into the Kingdom of God through His Son Jesus Christ!
Pastor Murray Hack