Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned him saying, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”
Pilate was surrounded by people who were interested in making sure that Jesus served a final sentence for all of his outspoken words, his marvelous deeds, and his unexplainable behaviour. Here is a man found eating with sinners, who raised the dead, and who flipped over tables in the Temple. Despite the miracles they have seen him perform, the priests and the people were not happy with Jesus’ actions. So Pilate asked him this question and wants to find out the truth about who Jesus is for himself. Are you the King of the Jews? Whether we realize it or not, we often ask this question of Jesus. We ask him about his true identity. Are you really who you say you are? Do you really meet all my needs? Do you really show yourself true in times of difficulty? Are you really going to heal me, save me, find me a spouse, fulfill my destiny? In our riotous emotion, Jesus answers with the same calm voice that he gives to Pilate.
The verses following this portray an interesting scene where Pilate is faced with making a decision about who Jesus is. Is he a criminal, deserving of death? Is he a harmless man who has made a radical claim? Or is he, in fact, the King of the Jews? Imagine what this would have meant for Pilate if he were to admit to Jesus’ claim of being King. Pilate was serving as a colonial ruler of this unruly corner of the Roman empire. If Jesus’ claim were true, it would certainly mean that Pilate would have some explaining to do back in Rome about how he managed to let things get so far out of control that a man from Nazareth was now claiming the non-existent throne of Judea. Think for a moment, what would it mean in your own life, if Jesus were the King? What kinds of things would he overthrow? What are the things he would cultivate? Who are the people he would welcome into your life and who are those he would say have no place in this kingdom?
As Pilate weighed the crowd and the answer Jesus gave him, he had a decision to make. The voices around him spoke four different lies in the face of this truth about Jesus. The first lie is that of religion which says that deeds are more important than discipleship. The second lie is that of exchange; the people believed that if they could just trade Jesus for Barabbas, they would be satisfied and the problem would go away. The third lie is that of envy which says that the problem was with Jesus, not with their own wicked hearts. The final lie was that of passivity which Pilate himself believed; if he did nothing, then he was innocent. Like Pilate, we have a decision to make. We cannot simply do nothing, we must decide if he is King or not. This week as you are serving and loving Jesus, ask him about the throne in your life. Is he sitting on it or are you sharing it with one another? Or maybe, like Pilate, you are still asking him the question if he is in fact the King. You have an opportunity to experience him in his fullness and majesty as you submit yourself to him.
Author: Renatta Walton