The king of truth, John 18:28-40
13th Apr 2019
Dawn breaks. After his night-time examination before the high priest, Jesus is taken to face the Roman governor, who at times of heightened tension such as Passover resides in the palace that Herod the Great built in Jerusalem. John says bluntly: “The Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor” (verse 28; also verses 32, 36, 38). But we must be careful not to give the impression that the Jewish people as a whole were responsible for Jesus’ death. Responsibility lay with the religious leaders, who chose the way of expediency to get the verdict they wanted.
Pilate asks what the charges against Jesus are. They don’t give a straight answer. “Deal with him yourselves”, says Pilate. “But we have no power to execute anyone”, they reply. Jesus’ death is what they want, and only Pilate can deliver it.
Jesus is taken inside the palace. Now it is just Pilate and Jesus, face to face. “Are you the king of the Jews?, asks Pilate (verse 33). Jesus replies: “My kingdom isn’t like the kind of kingdom you understand. I came to point people to the truth“ (verses 36-37).
Then Pilate’s famous response: “What is truth”? Does he ask it despairingly? Or longingly? Or is he just frustrated with these issues that are way beyond his comfort zone?
He decides the debate has gone on long enough: “I find no basis for a charge against him”. But then a move aimed at letting him off the hook. He’s intrigued by Jesus but pushes the decision-making back to the Jewish authorities. “You have this custom that a prisoner is released at Passover time. Shall I release Jesus?”
And the Jewish leaders prefer a bandit to the Son of God.
“Do you want me to release the king of the Jews?” (John 18:39)
Are there times when I opt for expediency when I should be sticking firmly to a principle?
How honestly do I assess the truth about myself – my strengths, my weaknesses, the gifts God has given me? Might such reflection lead me in a new direction?
Lord Jesus, help me always to speak, act and live with integrity, so that I may bear witness to you and honour you, the only true King.