Gospel of John [18:36-38]. Christ's trials, part 9. Before Pilate.

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Title: Gospel of John [18:36-38]. Christ's trials, part 9. Before Pilate.



JOH 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."


JOH 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king [the only part that the synoptics record]. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." 


"I have been born" and "I have come" are both in the perfect tense. God's purpose will be done.


Born is in the passive voice while "come" is in the active voice - the Father sent Me and I have willingly come and We will accomplish all our good pleasure. The birth and incarnation are therefore presented by Christ not just as historical facts, which would be the case of any person who does not have a divine purpose, but as a part of a purpose that is abiding forever.


We must all see our reality in this light. Since we are a part of an eternal kingdom that has a very real purpose that will be accomplished, we must see our reality through the lens of purpose and not just in terms of stuff happens.


He states to Pilate that He came into the world to bear witness of the truth.


The truth is the Gospel which sets free from the world's kingdoms to the heavenly kingdom all who believe in Him.


The gospel, or good news, includes all that follows in the NT that reveals the results of the Person and work of Christ in the world and in believers. So then, everyone who is of the truth hears His voice.


JOH 10:1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.


JOH 10:2 "But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.


Christ entered the world plainly, announced. His ministry was open, He did nothing in secret, He was not seditious but plainly presented Himself as Messiah sent from the Father and bearing witness of the truth, His sheep grow accustomed to His voice and learn to love the sound of it, the sound of truth.


JOH 10:3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.


JOH 10:4 "When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.


JOH 10:5 "And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers."


But these subjects do not fight with the sword as they do in earthly kingdoms.


They fight by the power of the truth and the Spirit of God and not externally, but internally, that they also may bear witness of the truth as He did and live sanctified from the sin nature and the world system.


The truth to the believer should become part of the treasure within these earthen vessels so that the surpassing greatness of power may be of God and not of ourselves, we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.


2CO 10:3-4

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.


1TI 6:12

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called


Anyone who is in His kingdom is of the truth and hears his Master's voice.  


JOH 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king [the only part that the synoptic's record]. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."


JOH 18:38 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.


This question was probably asked in contempt, and hence Jesus did not answer it. Christ uses the definite article - "the truth" while Pilate does not - anything called truth.


Jesus meant "the absolute" truth: Pilate, truth in any particular case. Pilate's exclamation is neither the expression of an ardent thirst for truth, nor that of the despair of a soul which has long sought it in vain; it would seem to be the profession of a frivolous skepticism.


Had the question been sincere, and had Pilate really sought it as Nicodemus had done in Joh 3, Jesus would not have hesitated to explain to him the nature of his kingdom. They were now alone in the judgment-hall, and as soon as Pilate had asked the question, without waiting for an answer, he went out.


Pilate knew his business, and to discuss the nature of truth formed no part of it. A Roman official started his work at dawn and tried to get it over with as soon as possible in the morning. Roman law extended into a lot of things, but eternal truth wasn't one of them. So he broke off the interrogation with the curt dismissal 'What is truth?'


As a witness of the truth the Messiah is therefore not for the Jews only but a permanent and universal witness of the truth to all men, which truth will convey genuine freedom on those who know it and believe it.


Christ's words were lost on Pilate, but the apostle John hopes and believes that many of his readers will take them to heart, and come to know Him who is not only a witness of the truth but the truth in person - the truth that makes men and women free.


It is evident that he was satisfied, from the answer of Jesus, that He was not a king in the sense in which the Jews accused him; that he would not endanger the Roman government, and consequently that he was innocent of the charge alleged against him. He regarded him, clearly, as a fanatic poor, ignorant, and deluded, but innocent and not dangerous. Hence, he sought to release him; and, hence, in contempt, he asked him this question, and immediately went out, not expecting an answer.


This question had long agitated the world. Christ came to bear witness of it.


JOH 1:14

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.


It was the great subject of inquiry in all the schools of the Greeks. Different sects of philosophers had held different opinions, and Pilate now, in derision, asked Him, whom he esteemed an ignorant fanatic, whether He could solve this long-agitated question, assuming He couldn’t and in contempt, walked away. Had he asked sincerely and waited an answer from the only embodiment of truth he might have had an answer; Jesus would have told him what it was. Thousands ask the question in the same way. They have a fixed contempt for the Bible; they ask questions after they have made up their minds that the Bible is a false text without having ever read it. Some read it and like the religious Jews apply their own truth over it and bend it to fit their so-called truth while they exalt themselves. They are unwilling to investigate and to wait at the gates of wisdom when God swoops into their lives to give them pause, when they see a glimmer of the fact that their world, taken at face value, has something wrong in it. They put a bandage over the crack in their world that God has caused and move on, ignoring the lack of foundation in such schemes as the devil has deceived man. The Truth in the person of Jesus Christ came into the world in order to provide a solid foundation of truth and to demolish the fake fortresses of the cosmic world. He did the same in resurrection and He has continued to do the same through the church. Yet so many cast the Truth away in contempt and prefer the lie, since the lie tells them that they are ok and that they are not in need of a Savior, that they are not hopeless or helpless but that fulfillment lies in the next relationship, the next job, the next friend, the next vacation, the next year, the next move; and there are a whole big bag of next's out there that promise everything. Hence, like Pilate, they remain ignorant of the great Source of truth, and live in darkness and in error and thus die in them as well.


Yet we have those like the Samaritan woman who met the Lord at Jacob's well.


JOH 4:19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.


JOH 4:20 "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."


JOH 4:21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father.


JOH 4:22 "You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews.


JOH 4:23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.


JOH 4:24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." 


JOH 4:25 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us."


JOH 4:26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."


It is the truth that sets us free. Free as servants in His kingdom.


JOH 8:31 Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;


JOH 8:32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."


They argued that they were free already. He responded:


JOH 8:40 "But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.


The devil has no truth in him and so his cosmic system and religions possess no truth.


JOH 8:44 He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.


Yet the religions and the system use some truth as a background so that it sounds acceptable. They have a form of godliness but deny the true power of godliness.


Our Lord IS the truth.


JOH 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.


He has given us G/HS so that we can know the truth and be free.


JOH 16:12 "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.


JOH 16:13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.


By His truth we are set apart from the world, the flesh, and the devil.


JOH 17:17 "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.


JOH 17:18 "As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.


JOH 17:19 "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.


JOH 18:38 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.