Title: Gospel of John [18:28-36]. Christ's trials, part 6. Before Pilate.
Jesus now answers Pilate's initial question by speaking of His kingship in the affirmative but at the same time qualifying it in a sense that removes it from what Pilate had in mind.
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."
This passage has been misunderstood in various ways. Jesus is by no means stating that His kingdom should fight against the kings of the earth. Peter attempted it and the Lord stopped Him.
The kings of the earth as well as the god of this world are defeated and dethroned by the sacrifice of our Lord and not fighting servants.
What He is saying is that "if" His kingdom were of this world then they would be worldly servants and Himself a worldly king. This is exactly what Pilate is trying to find out - if He is the worldly king that the Jews of his day thought their Messiah would be.
The Jews had come to believe over the last few centuries that righteousness came by keeping the Law (written and oral) and so their Messiah became earthly as they had, missing the spiritual nature of His kingdom.
1CO 15:39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.
1CO 15:40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.
1CO 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
1CO 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;
1CO 15:43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
1CO 15:44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
“natural” - yuciko,j[psuchikos] = soulish. The Greeks used this word to designate the soul of a man.
Our bodies are soulish. That is, it is so constituted that most of its activities are concerned with the individual's experience on earth, in his adjustments to his fellow man, his work, his play, himself. If his human spirit is imputed alive by the Holy Spirit as part of the saving work of God, he is enabled to worship God and participate in the service of the Lord Jesus.
A seed is not going to grow another better and bigger seed. The Christ was not to come in order to increase the current state of the flesh, akin having a righteousness of their own derived from the Law (Php 3:9).
A righteousness of my own is an attempt at a better me. A kingdom of Christ not of this world does not demand better worldly creatures but brand new creatures that are spiritual. Therefore, how they are to live and function is also not of the world, more moral, more pleasing to mankind, more accepted, but they are to live spiritually, by means of the word of God and the Spirit of God. Yet, while they do, they will continue to struggle with a body that is soulish, i.e. has a tendency to be absorbed with self and self’s work, play, and environment. God has given provision for this through grace and truth. We are not to become monks or hermits.
The Messiah needed to die on behalf of all, Jew and Gentile, so that righteousness and life would come to all through faith in Him. This is from above, not of this world.
and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
JOH 12:20 Now there were certain Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast;
JOH 12:21 these therefore came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
JOH 12:22 Philip came and told Andrew [from the same home town on the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee]; Andrew and Philip came, and they told Jesus.
JOH 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
JOH 12:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
JOH 12:25 "He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world [earthly] shall keep it to life eternal.
JOH 12:26 "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me [I came to bear witness of the truth]; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
JOH 12:27 "Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
JOH 12:28 "Father, glorify Thy name." There came therefore a voice out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again [resurrection]."
JOH 12:29 The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, "An angel has spoken to Him."
JOH 12:30 Jesus answered and said, "This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.
Although the body of Christ’s incarnation is fully human it is not fully soulish since it was provided by God the Holy Spirit. Christ was the only human who was fully spiritual in body, soul, and spirit. Therefore, through the provision of the Father He was always occupied with others. But this does not mean that He wasn’t tempted to be soulish, or self-occupied. He perfectly defeated all temptation through the spiritual life.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
When resurrected we would confidently conclude that He was no longer temptable, and this surely was a great relief of pressure to Him.
JOH 12:31 "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out.
JOH 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."
JOH 12:33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.
JOH 12:34 The multitude therefore answered Him, "We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?"
This reveals their problem of interpretation that has interwoven itself into all their understanding of the scripture. They looked at all of it from a solely earthly point of view.
They all knew Psa 110 to be Messianic (MAT 22:42-46). You will remember that our Lord questioned the Pharisees about this Psalm just a few days before His death.
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, "What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?" They said to Him, "The son of David." He said to them, "Then how does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying,
PSA 110:1 The Lord says to my Lord:
"Sit at My right hand,
Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet."
PSA 110:2 The Lord will stretch forth Thy strong scepter from Zion, saying,
"Rule in the midst of Thine enemies."
PSA 110:3 Thy people will volunteer freely in the day of Thy power;
In holy array, from the womb of the dawn,
Thy youth are to Thee as the dew.
The holy array are the volunteers in holy, festive garments. They are as the dew, which refers to their vigorousness and multitude and they surround the King/Priest.
The people are a new generation, wonderful as if born out of heavenly light, numerous, fresh, and vigorous like the dew-drops, the offspring of the dawn.
These cannot be better people of the same type they are, either Jew or Gentile in Christ’s time or any time. They must be fully and completely changed, from above, and in this scene represented, like Christ’s bride on white horses, they are resurrected and in their spiritual bodies. I repeat, though we are new creatures within; we are still soulish bodies without. The soulish must take on the spiritual in order to present herself (each a king/priest) with her King or kings/High Priest together as His Kingdom that is not of this world.
PSA 110:4 The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind,
"Thou art a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek."
Melchizedek, king of Salem (later Jerusalem, i.e. Zion) is a priest. A king priest not of the tribe of Aaron (Levi).
Has there ever been a king/priest/prophet forever who is the Son of David and at the same time the Lord of David? If not, then how could the Messiah be just a very good, strong, and wise man? He would need to be the Son of God, and as unique, His kingdom must also be unique. They interpreted “a priest forever” as man who would live and rule forever, as a man only.
To them, in their day, this could not in any way be conceived as including death and resurrection. It is significant here that even He, the Son of David, must receive a new resurrected body in order to rule as was promised here.
In order to have a resurrected body, He must die and be resurrected. If He is to have an army, a saved and regenerated people, then His death must be spiritual on their behalf as well as physical.
PSA 110:5 The Lord is at Thy right hand;
He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.
In verse 1, “until I make Your enemies a footstool” cannot be construed as an idle sitting at the right hand of the Father but here shows a uniform participation in His high dignity and dominion. The Father exalts the Son and accomplishes His ends through the Son.
PSA 110:6 He will judge among the nations,
He will fill them with corpses,
He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.
“shatter the chief men” = wound or break the head. This is an allusion to GEN 3:15.
He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."
There is debate as to whether this word should be taken literally to mean physical heads or figuratively to mean leaders of men.
PSA 110:7 He will drink from the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He will lift up His head.
The final of the 7 lines of the people speaks of His refreshment in total security and victory over the crushed heads of the enemy. Thiers are crushed while His is lifted up.