Lent: Day Twenty Three

My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world. -John 18:33,36

In the early morning hours, Pontius Pilate stood in his palace. In a nearby room servants prepared decadent foods, costly wines, and luxurious furnishings. Soldiers guarded the entrance, willing to die for him. Pilate was the physical representation of the authority and power of the Roman Empire in Judea.

But before Pilate stood a simple man, cheaply clothed and humble in appearance. Pilate was told that this man, Jesus, claimed to be King of the Jews. King of the Jews? Jesus had no palaces, servants, or expensive garments. He wore no crown, led no armies, or employed any servants. In fact, the very nation that Jesus was said to be king of, willingly delivered him to the Empire’s hands. Some “king” this Jesus was.

This must all be an elaborate prank; Pilate must have thought. Or perhaps a great misunderstanding. What a foolish waste of Pilate’s time! If Jesus would simply deny that he was king, Pilate could send him away and get back to more important matters.

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered,

My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” - John 18:33,36

Pilate had a palace - Jesus had nowhere to lay his head

Pilate had servants - Jesus came not to be served, but to serve

Pilate ruled with great power - Jesus wore a crown of thorns

Pilate had soldiers to fight for him - Jesus willingly died for his enemies 

Prayer: Father, often in my heart I long for a kingdom much more like Pilate’s than that of Jesus. I desire comfort, power, and control. Yet, the kingdom that Jesus died to create is one that looks much different than the kingdoms of this world. Forgive me for my selfishness. Give me the strength today to serve humbly, to live sacrificially, and to love as courageously as our king Jesus did.