So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 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.” 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.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” John 18:33-38 ESV
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying,
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” Revelation 11:15-18 ESV
People who are subjects of the United Kingdom are subjects to the king or queen of England and of the United Kingdom. As I write, England has a queen, and if one of her subjects meets her, a man should bow, and a woman should curtsey. However, when the queen visited the United States several years ago, the American people who met her didn’t have to bow or curtsey, because she wasn’t their queen. Americans aren’t British subjects, and the queen wasn’t in her own country. She was a queen, but her kingdom was in another place and among other people.
Jesus said something a little like that. Pontius Pilate took him inside his headquarters so he could ask him some questions. He asked Jesus if he were the King of the Jews. Pilate wasn’t a Jew, so even if Jesus were the King of the Jews, he wouldn’t be Pontius Pilate’s king. Then Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this world, because if it had been, then his followers would have fought for him. But he was a king of another kind of a kingdom that would come about in another place and time. He had come to this time to tell the truth about who he was and what kind of kingdom he ruled. Anyone who listened to Jesus would know him as the truth and be part of his kingdom. None of this made any sense to Pontius Pilate. “What is truth?” he asked.
We know that Jesus himself is the truth, and that his kingdom is one that will last forever. Jesus came to bring us into his kingdom by dying on the cross for us so that our sins could be forgiven and we could become his people. He rules now in the hearts of his people, and when he comes again his kingdom will be established forever. We will know the joy of serving Jesus as our king for all eternity.
Dear Jesus, thank you for being our king and for bringing us into your kingdom forever. Amen.