John 18:33-37 – Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 18:34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 18:35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 18:36 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.” 18:37 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.”
Summary – In this passage Jesus is questioned by Pilot as part of his trial. The questions focus on whether Jesus is a king. Jesus teaches his kingdom is not from this world. Jesus speaks to Pilot and explains that He is not trying to be a worldly Ruler. He explains that His followers don’t take up swords to fight to bring in His kingdom. Jesus says that everyone who belongs to the truth listens to Him.
Insight – Where are you from? Where were you born? Jesus is talking about his place of origin – heaven. Many Christians have taken this passage to mean that the kingdom of God does not relate to matters of this world at all. But this passage only teaches that the kingdom of God does not originate from the world. However it does have an effect on the world. The kingdom of God is from heaven, it is to rule over the earth. We are to pray his kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Yet the kingdom that comes from heaven does not use military force or power. The kingdom works through the atoning sacrifice of Christ which is proclaimed in the gospel and the sacraments. As the kingdom transforms the world like yeast then it will affect every aspect of life.
Catechism – Where is Christ’s kingdom from? Christ’s kingdom is from heaven.
Discussion – How does God’s kingdom rule from heaven influence earth? Can you think of a historical example of how the gospel has affected the world?
Prayer – Heavenly Father, we thank you for the sacrificial work of our Lord Jesus, who after his trial was crucified for our sins. We praise you that through the cross we have a redemptive kingdom which is not from the this world. Therefore we pray your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. In Christ’s Name, Amen.