35 Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” 37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate *said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and *said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.
I’ve had difficulty in trying to figure out how to break this story up. I’d rather just lay out the whole story for us to read, but then my comments would probably go on for pages. Pilate’s response here is in reference to the previous verse where Jesus asked if Pilate is calling Him a king because that’s what the Jews told him Jesus was or if Pilate recognized it of his own accord. In this passage, we can clearly see Pilate’s confusion. It is this very confusion that I have been trying to understand the past year or two.
Pilate’s confusion stems from his perspective of religion. The Jews, a big religious sect of the time, were saying that Jesus did something wrong, yet Pilate couldn’t quite see what He did. Clearly, these religious people are mad because Jesus offended them somehow, but He didn’t necessarily break any laws. What is a ruler to do? The difference between what Jesus taught and what the Jews believed doesn’t necessarily become clear until afterwards when the Apostles are known as “of the Way” when they see that following Jesus isn’t about following the rules of religion. At first they thought it was a “new sect” of Judaism except they didn’t act Jewish at all. We see this during Jesus’ ministry: a seemingly high rabbinical priest who tends to break all the rules yet cannot be rightly accused of breaking any of them. How is this possible? Jesus tells us in verse 36.
Do you remember during Jesus’ temptation when Satan mentioned that Jesus was able to call upon legions of angels? Why is Jesus able to do that? Because His kingdom is not of this world. Unbelievers would link this to the “mystic baloney” of Christianity that is part of their explanation of unbelief. But those of us who have experienced and witnessed this kingdom cannot deny its existence. When you live in the kingdom of God, you have a different perspective. My only parallel I can think of for this is someone who is in the military. When you are in the military, you look at everything differently. It isn’t necessarily one or two things, but your whole life is seen through a different filter. You look at your pay, your meals, politics, relationships, even a piece of trash on the side of the road differently. Likewise, once we become a member of the kingdom of God, we view the world differently.
Pilate’s confusion here is evidence that he is not of the Kingdom of God. Jesus isn’t a king in the way the world sees kings, yet He reigns and rules as King. The best way others can explain it as some religious mumbo jumbo that we Christians throw around because it sounds cool. Yet, in 37 we see who He is king over. Jesus’ ministry involved His proclamation of the coming of the Kingdom of God. He stated over and over that “the kingdom of God/ heaven has come.” His last sentence is so paramount. Those who are “of the truth” hear His voice. What does this mean? It means that those who seek God honestly and truthfully will hear it. Pilate’s frustration in the matter ends in his exasperated declaration, “what is the truth?”
In today’s world, there is so much information out there it is hard to discern the truth, isn’t it? Even this very blog adds to the countless words of information. How do we know what is real or not? How do we know what the truth is? Every religion is proclaiming their truth. Every belief system is followed by convincing numbers of people. Some of us are solid in our faith systems. Others are overwhelmed by them all and just decided not to participate at all. Some have tried and have just given up. The problem is the noise. Everyone is talking and we don’t know who to listen to. Why don’t we ask God Himself? We spend all this time getting information from men and women about God, but why don’t we pause to ask Him directly? If we truly seek His truth…we will hear His voice!
Don’t just take my word for it. Try it. Ask God to reveal Himself to you today. Ask Him what the truth is about Him. Don’t go to a third party for information, go to the source! If you seek the kingdom of God, He will reveal it to you. If you ask Him to speak to you, you will hear His voice. If you knock, He will open the door of your heart to reveal the truth.