While the other Gospels often portrayed Jesus as the suffering Servant and Son of Man, John presents Him as Son of God and God the Son. He is the Word made flesh Who created the world, the great I AM of Old Testament times, the Good Shepherd Who gives His life for the sheep. He is the root and the stem of David, sent by God as the eternal King of Israel and the immutable Saviour of the world. And His kingdom will have no end.
Christ’s Messianic claims, His ministry, teachings, and proclamations did not conform to Israel’s distorted view of their coming King. They had twisted Old Testament Scriptures to fit in with their ungodly pursuits, prideful posture, and avaricious attitude. They wanted a warrior-king who would destroy their Roman oppressors in preference to One Who could read the thoughts of their hearts, exposed their sin, and called them to repent of their apostasy and faithlessness.
Christ’s message was uncomfortable and unacceptable to Israel’s religious leaders and their only recourse was to permanently eliminate Him, in whatever way they were able. And so they plotted to do away with Him. They not only accused Him of blasphemy against God, but characterised Him as a political insurrectionist and threat to Caesar.
And so following an illegal religious trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin where Jesus was labelled as a blasphemer, He was dragged before Pilate, the Roman governor, where they labelled Him a criminal Who claimed to be the King of the Jews. We do not know what the Jews told Pilate of Jesus’ Messianic claims, but they portrayed Him as an insurrectionist! As Caesar’s representative, Pilate needed to know if Jesus was a threat to his emperor, and yet he was perceptive enough to realise that the Jew’s accusations were rooted in jealousy and hatred.
When Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He replied, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Christ’s kingdom was never to be part of this world’s system, which is under the power of Satan. The governor recognised Christ’s regal authority but could see He was no mutineer: “Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king!'”
Jesus answered Pilate with quiet, impressive authority. ‘Yes Pilate, you are right. Yes, you speak correctly, I am a King.’ Indeed, the Man that stood before Pilate was King of kings and Lord of lords. All power and authority in both earth and heaven belongs to Him and there followed a most astonishing revelation: “I have been born a king, and for this purpose I have come into the world – to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Majestically and factually, Jesus testified to the truth that He came to reveal God to a lost and dying world. He came to gather subjects into His kingdom; people who would believe on His name. Jesus told Pilate the good news of the gospel of grace and that He was indeed a King, that He was born to be King, that He came from heaven above into this fallen world to tell the lost souls the truth of salvation, and that whosoever hears His voice and believes in Him will be saved: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This was the most important day of Pilate’s life. His hour of grace had come. The King of Love was teaching Pilate that everyone who responds to His voice and accepts that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, will not be condemned. But the one who rejects the Truth of His Word is condemned already.
Did Pilate respond to Christ’s offer of salvation? Maybe! Did he hear the truth and believe on the Lord Jesus? Maybe! The more important question is have we heard His voice and are we willing to testify to the truth? As Paul wrote in his first letter to Timothy: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
Dear Heavenly Father, how I praise and thank You that Jesus came to seek and to save those that are lost and, in His grace, made a good confession before Pilate that He came into the world to testify of the truth of God’s Word and bring to salvation all who hear His voice and trust in His saving grace. Thank You that I too have been given the opportunity to hear the good news of the gospel of grace and have been transferred from the kingdom of this world into the kingdom of Your dear Son. May I be a faithful witness to the truth of the gospel. In Christ’s name I pray, AMEN.
37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.