The Gospel John 18: 33-37(New Revised Standard Version)

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Did You Know? — Source, New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9
• The word “King” appears nine times in the trial before Pilate (18: 33,37) twice.
• The prominence of the kingship motif underscores the intersection and politics in the trial narrative.
• Jesus addresses two questions Pilate has asked him: “Are you a king?” (v. 33) and “What have you done?” (v. 35)
• Note that Jesus defines his kingship by stating what it is not.


Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading

What does it mean to be a king…or a queen for that matter? The Bible gives us numerous examples of kingship. The Book of Daniel spends a lot of time giving negative examples of being a king. Daniel points to evil leaders during the Babylonian exile when Jews were led away from Jerusalem, the Temple was destroyed, and many were imprisoned for decades. With this as the backdrop, Daniel describes a king who is self-focused and obsessed with power and wealth.

“The king shall act as he pleases. He shall exalt himself and consider himself greater than any god and shall speak horrendous things against the God of gods,” (Daniel 11: 36.) Daniel counsels the faithful to believe that God is in control and evil –including evil kings—will not have the final word.

The Jews of the First Testament knew their share of good kings and bad ones. Devotion and fidelity to God was a defining factor.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus stands before Pilate alluding to a kingship that his captor cannot understand. “My kingship is not of this world,” Jesus said. (John 18: 36) Pilate, was part of a long line of leaders who could not see where true power comes from.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Pam

Rev. Pam Brokaw pastors both the Rochester and Oakville United Methodist Churches.
She is a graduate of the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, where she earned her Masters in Divinity.