THURSDAY 3.9.23 John 18:33-37, 19:7-12
33 Pilate went back into the palace. He summoned Jesus and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others spoken to you about me?”
35 Pilate responded, “I’m not a Jew, am I? Your nation and its chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”
36 Jesus replied, “My kingdom doesn’t originate from this world. If it did, my guards would fight so that I wouldn’t have been arrested by the Jewish leaders. My kingdom isn’t from here.”
37 “So you are a king?” Pilate said.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Whoever accepts the truth listens to my voice.”
7 The Jewish leaders replied, “We have a Law, and according to this Law he ought to die because he made himself out to be God’s Son.”
8 When Pilate heard this word, he was even more afraid. 9 He went back into the residence and spoke to Jesus, “Where are you from?” Jesus didn’t answer. 10 So Pilate said, “You won’t speak to me? Don’t you know that I have authority to release you and also to crucify you?”
11 Jesus replied, “You would have no authority over me if it had not been given to you from above. That’s why the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” 12 From that moment on, Pilate wanted to release Jesus.
Pontius Pilate, a hardened Roman bureaucrat, found himself facing a prisoner unlike any he had ever met. He’d seen lots of anger and defiance, but this calm sense that it was really Jesus, not Pilate, who had the ultimate authority—no, he’d never seen that. Jaded as he was, he even wondered if something otherworldly was at work, and asked Jesus, “Where do you come from?” (John 19:9)
- British scholar William Barclay wrote of John 18, “[Jesus] makes it quite clear that he claims to be a king and equally clear that his kingdom is not based on force but is a kingdom in the hearts of men. He would never deny that he aimed at conquest, but it was the conquest of love.” * To Pilate, the Jewish leaders, at times even to his disciples, Jesus' aim looked naïve and unrealistic. Did Jesus accomplish “the conquest of love” in our world? Has he conquered your heart?
- To human eyes, it seemed simple: Pilate stood for all of Rome’s power and “legal” authority. Yet it wasn’t that simple. “What’s true of Jesus himself is equally true of his kingdom: it’s not from this world, but from above (see John 8:23)…. Authority: echoes John 10:18, ‘I have the right [authority] to give it up, and I have the right [authority] to take it up again.’ Jesus' claim and Pilate’s are on a collision course.” ** How do you accept or resist Jesus' life-changing authority in your life?
Lord of all, you came to testify to the truth, including the truth about who you are and where you came from. I believe you, and I worship and follow you. Amen.
In case you missed it...
During Lent, we have a weekly video that will help you reflect on the key themes from Words that Changed the World: The Message of Jesus. Pastor Valerie Vogt leads us through our first video. Click here to watch it on YouTube (or click on the image below).
* William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of John—Volume 2 Chapters 8–21 (Revised Edition). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, page 244.
** J. Ramsey Michaels, study notes on John 18:36 and 19:10 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, pp. 207-208 NT.
Want more reflection on today's GPS?
Ginny Howell serves as the Worship Experience Director for Resurrection, leading the church’s efforts to provide radical hospitality and an excellent worship experience across all of our locations. She’s a mom to three, g-momma to one sweet little boy, and shares much of her time with her closest companion, a rescued Pit Bull named Lola.