John's Gospel -a new look:The King and his Kingdom
Spiritual truth in a physical world
John’s Gospel-a new look: The King and His Kingdom.
When two Kingdoms meet.
The trial was typical of what we often see is this world. There was no fairness involved; it was simply a matter of pressure by the Jewish leaders who were desperate to get rid of Jesus. Both the Roman and Jewish law insisted on the proper procedure being followed in the arrest and trial of a suspected criminal. Here no such procedure was followed, with one of the soldiers even striking Jesus in the face when he answered the high priest.
It was however when standing before Pilate and being asked by the Roman leader; “What have you done?”(vs.35) that Jesus gives this astonishing answer, seemingly ignoring Pilates question; “My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (N.I.V. translation)
To the already confused Pilate this probably did not help much to clarify the situation he found himself in. The next statement from Pilate; “You are a king then!” brings an answer that could only further add to his confusion when Jesus answers; “You are right in saying that I am a king. In fact for this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
In his confusion Pilate proclaims Jesus innocent of any charges and tries to compromise by offering to release Jesus on the basis of the custom to release a criminal before the Passover Festival. The Jews will have nothing of it and asks for Barabbas, the leader of a rebellion, to rather be released.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus is often quoted as answering people he met with spiritual answers to physical questions. A good example is when he approached the woman at the well in Samaria with an answer about living water when she is talking about ordinary water. (Jn. 4:7-14)
It’s so much easier to understand these comments of Jesus with hindsight in the context of the whole New Testament. Jesus did come to establish his kingdom, the church, and he offers us today the opportunity to drink from the fountain of eternal life. The book of Revelation paints this beautiful picture of the Kingdom that Jesus established, in stating; “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God.” (Rev 22:1)
Pilate asks Jesus the vital question; “What is the truth?” (Jn.18:38) and then does not even wait for an answer. According to John however Jesus had already given the answer as recorded in John 14:6; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” On the cross one could say that Jesus built a bridge between two worlds, the physical temporal world we live in with its human problems and the spiritual world that exists now in the church, and eventually leads to life in eternity.
This Kingdom is fair and just. Here God's eternal grace and love rules to those who accept the citizenship that he offers in Jesus Christ. What more can one ask for?