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.’ Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’ John 18:36-38
The above confrontation between Jesus and Pilate is not what it appears on the surface.
That’s kind of how John is. Nothing is ever as it appears to be at first glance. It appears that Jesus is on trial before Pilate, but the truth is, Pilate is on trial. It appears that Jesus is disavowing any political power, but the truth is, he is turning political power on its head.
When Jesus says his kingdom is not from here, he is not saying he has no power or authority here.
He is saying his power and authority is greater than what can be found here. His power is greater than Pilate’s. His kingdom is not from here but it is overcoming this kingdom.
That is the truth to which he testifies. Pilate scoffs at that truth but that is the truth that will turn his kingdom upside down.
That is the truth that will bring justice rolling down like a river and righteousness as an everlasting stream.
I’m usually impatient with John. I don’t like all the symbolism and layers beyond the surface. I’m kind of a just give it to me straight person.
But we need to be able to see beyond the surface.
Especially in times like these when it seems that Pilate’s truth, Pilate’s kingdom is prevailing.
We need to look beyond the surface to see that Jesus’ kingdom is so very near and with it God’s justice is rolling down like a river and righteousness like an everlasting stream.