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Sunday, May 26, 2019

posted May 26, 2019, 2:29 PM by Site Administrator

JESUS, KING OF TRUTH

 

John 18:1-40

Key Verse 18:37

 

You are a king, then! said Pilate. Jesus answered, You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

 

First, I am he (1-27). Look at verse 1. After his high priestly prayer, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley and came to the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. There was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it. Probably, this was the placed called Gethsemane, which was located on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives; there Jesus prayed, saying, Abba Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will. (Mk 14:36) He had a fierce battle in prayer so that he would obey God’s will. Through this prayer struggle at Gethsemane, all hints of hesitation were removed from his heart and he was completely determined to obey God’s will through his death on the cross. Then, he said to the disciples, Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer! (Mk 14:42) Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Here, a detachment of soldiers refers to a band of Roman soldiers, hired by the religious leaders; Mark's gospel 14in KJV describes the situation saying, a great multitude with swords and staves. So, a detachment of soldiers did not mean 20 or 30 soldiers, but several hundred soldiers, showing that the religious leaders were really determined to arrest Jesus and killhim; they didn’t want to have any mistake in this matter.

 

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, Who is it you want? Jesus of Nazareth,they replied. I am he, Jesus said. At this, they drew back and fell to the ground. This showed that all these people, soldiers and officials, were actually fearful when they were to arrest Jesus. They knew that Jesus was a great man of God; they knew all the miracles Jesus had performed - the power of God was working in and through him; they even thought about the possibility that he might be the one whom he claimed to be - the Son of God. They came to arrest Jesus according to the order they received, but they were all afraid to lay their hands on him. Then, when Jesus said to them, I am he, they were all frightened, drew back and fell to the ground. 

 

Look at verses 7 and 8. Again he asked them, Who is it you want? Still on the ground, with a shaky voice, they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Then, Jesus said, I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go. The author John knew why Jesus did so. He says, This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: I have not lost one of those you gave me. Even when he was going to be arrested and killed, Jesus protected his disciples. Surely, Jesus was not a victim, but he was in control and proceeded things one by one so that God’s will would be fulfilled. Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Peter loved Jesus and out of loyalty to him, he wanted to protect him. The whole situation could have turned bloody. But before the soldiers took any action, Jesus quickly intervened into the situation, saying to Peter, Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?

 

Jesus here describes his obedience to God’s will as drinking the cup the Father has given him. Loving God with a lip service is cheap, and God does not accept it. But loving God by obeying his command is difficult and often painful; it requires a lot of self-denial and cross-taking. The cup God gave Jesus to drink was filled with pains and sorrows – he would suffer and be mistreated and humiliated; but he was determined to drink the cup of sorrows and pains by obeying God’s will upon him. At that time, he remained strong. This was the Son’s attitude toward his Father; no matter what direction the Father gave him, the Son would obey it, even if it was hard and costly. How cute and lovely the Son must have been to the Father; surely, he was an obedient son. On the contrary, Peter’s way of loving Jesus was to use the sword and fight for him physically. At first, he looked bold and loyal to Jesus. But he only caused more troubles and dangers. Instead of peace and joy, he brought more concern and anxiety to Jesus. That’s not God’s way; that’s not what Jesus wanted Peter to do. In order to follow Jesus, Peter had to learn to drink the cup. Often, we feel like using the sword by arguing with people logically proving that we are right, or sometimes, venting our anger on them. But Jesus says in Matthew 26, All who draw the sword will die by the sword. We must remember that drinking the cup is God’s way, and when we take God’s way, we are true winners even if we lose everything.

 

In verses 12 through 27, the apostle John shows the differences between Jesus and Simon Peter in dealing with challenges. Jesus was brought to Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest that year. He had been the high priest for years, and now his son-in-law succeeded him as the high priest. That’s why Annas was still called, “the high priest” in the passage. When Annas asked him about his disciples and his teaching, Jesus said, “I have spoken openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” Jesus had nothing to hide, because he served God’s work; so he preached God’s words freely, openly and publicly – that’s how he served God’s work.At Jesus’ answer, Annas was shocked and puzzled. Jesus was too powerful for him to deal with, so he sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest. 

 

On the contrary, when Peter was challenged about his love for Jesus, he failed miserably, disowning Jesus three times even before a slave girl. The top disciple Simon Peter disowning Jesus three times before the slave girl for the fear of death was really humiliating. Maybe, the enemies at this, were laughing and giggling. Indeed, Satan was sifting him like wheat as if Simon was his toy. A few hours ago, Simon said, “I will lay down my life for you.” Was he lying? No. That’s what he really meant. Then, how come he failed so miserably like this? It was because Peter was confident of his love for Jesus and thereby, he did not pray. He was self-confident, without knowing the spiritual reality. Jesus, during the last supper, tried to teach him about it, but Peter would not listen; instead, he was hurt, because it seemed that Jesus did not recognize his love for him. Then, when the enemy set him up, when a real challenge came up, he was found as a miserable failure, even doing what he had never wanted to do. When a rooster crowed, Peter remembered what Jesus had told him about; then, his heart was pierced; he went out and wept bitterly; there, Peter broke down. After this event, he would never be a man of self-confidencePeter’s failure shows that we must not be men or women of self-confidence. Instead of insisting our own love for Jesus with a lip service, saying, “I love Jesus,” we must be men and women of prayer so that we may be able to obey God’s will in any circumstances.  

 

SecondI came into the world to testify to the truth(28-40). Now at the Caiphas’ house, they held a Sanhedrin meeting at night, which was illegal. There, they condemned Jesus to death. Their charge against him was blasphemy that Jesus called himself as the Son of the Blessed One. Look at verses 28 through 32. Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. The outward reason was because the Jews had no right to execute anyone under the Roman rule. But in verse 32, the author Apostle John showedthat this happened so that Jesus' words in regard to how he would be sacrificed might be fulfilled. The Jewish way of execution in those days was stoning. But Jesus foretold them that he would be crucified; also Isaiah 53 prophesied that the Messiah would be pierced. So, Jesus was brought to the Roman governor, Pilate so that he might be killed in a Roman way, that was, crucifixion.

Pilate then summoned Jesus and asked him, Are you the king of the Jews? It was a dangerous question; this was the charge that was brought against Jesus, saying that Jesus was in rebellion against the Roman Empire, deserving a death penalty. But this question also reveals who Jesus was – the king of the Jews. In Matthew’s gospel, we see Magi coming from the east; when they came to Jerusalem, they shouted, Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him. (Mt 2:1,2) Here, the king of the Jews was the Savior of the world who would come from the Jews. It was another title for the Messiah. How did Jesus respond? Look at verse 34. Let’s read this verse together:

 

34Is that your own idea, Jesus asked, or did others talk to you about me?

 

Jesus was asking Pilate, Are you asking this question because you want to know who I am? Or are you asking this question because you have to as the governor? Jesus was standing on trial; soon he would suffer and die on the cross. But even in that situation, he was thinking about the salvation of this poor soul, Pilate. When Pilate asked him, Are you the king of the Jews? Jesus really hoped that Pilate might have his own desire to know him personally so that he might be saved. People come to worship service; people do even some church activities. And Jesus asks them, Is that your own idea, or do you do it because your shepherd told you to do? People say that they are Christians and they love Jesus. Then, Jesus asks them, Is that your own idea, or do you say so because you are among other believers? Jesus wants us to come to him on our own, with our own personal spiritual desire to know him and love him.

 

What was Pilate's answer? He replied, Am I a Jew? It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done? Am I a Jew? This answer means, Why should I be interested in the King of the Jews, when I am not a Jew? Pilate had no interest in Jesus at all; just he wanted to have some information about him so that he would judge him properly. At this, Jesus could have ignored him by remaining silent. But instead, he told him about his kingdom. Look at verse 36. Let’s read this verse together:

 

36Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.

 

By saying, “My kingdom,” Jesus confirmed that he was a king. But also, by saying, “My kingdom is not of this world,” he showed that he was not a political king, but a spiritual king. Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. His kingdom is from another place. So, his kingdom cannot be judged or evaluated by the standards and values of this world. In the kingdoms of this world, those who have high positions and great titles and a lot of money are considered great and successful, so all people in the kingdoms of this world pursue such things. But not so with the people in Jesus’ kingdom. In his kingdom, the one who serves is great; a servant of all is the greatest; in his kingdom, those who lose their life for Jesus and the gospel gain life, and they are great.

 

His kingdom is not of this world. Sometimes, we are confused about God’s will when our job matter is related; sometimes, we are bothered when our family matter is involved; sometimes, we are troubled when our marriage matter is concerned. But at that time, we must remember that fundamentally, Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world – Jesus' kingdom is not about extension of this world; it is not about improvement of our life in this world either; whatever of this world eventually cannot be a part of Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus says, My kingdom is from another place. Of course, he is talking about heaven; his kingdom is from heaven to the hearts and lives of people in the world. So, we must seek this heavenly kingdomInstead of trying to build our own kingdom in this world, we must seek this eternal kingdom, Jesus’ kingdom that comes from heaven. How? By drinking the cup the Father has given us, by obeying God’s commands, by denying ourselves and taking up the cross of mission for God’s kingdom work. The characteristic of Jesus’ kingdom is that it is not of this world. 

 

At this eye-opening message, Pilate should have rejoiced and said, Amen. But he shouted, You are a king, then! He was really blind and worldly, just a well-seasoned politician. It was a dangerous conclusion for Jesus; admitting it could cost him his life. But how did Jesus respond? Look at verse 37. Let’s read this verse together:

 

You are a king, then! said Pilate. Jesus answered, You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

 

Jesus admitted that he was king, because he came into the world to testify to the truth. Here, Jesus describes his life’s purpose as to testify to the truth; he was born for this; he lived for this and died for this. He was a king; that was truth; he testified to this truth even at the cost of his life. As a result, this truth that Jesus is a king was preserved, and today, it is revealed to us.

 

What is the truth? Simply, the truth is something really, really, really true, or simply, something really, really and really importantSo, what is the truth? God is the truth. God is the real essence of our life - the cause and purpose of our life; the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega of our life. God is the most important and essential part of our existence. Our life is not about building a career and paying the bills faithfully; life is not about pleasures or security; it is not about eating healthy food all the time; it is not about having worldwide fame; it is not about having a beautiful family either; all these are lies and deception is there. Our life is about knowing the True and Eternal God; our life is about serving God and loving Him. God is the most true and important aspect of our life.Jesus' life testified to this truth: He lived the life of obeying God's will even to the point of death; he did not live on his own, but according to God's will and purpose. Again, what is the truth? The truth is that this mundane life is not the real life, but the real life is the spiritual life. The spiritual world is the real world, and this mundane world is the training ground or a shadow of the spiritual world. Jesus came into the world to testify to the truth so that people might not live on lies and deceptions, but live by the truth; Jesus came into the world to testify to the truth so that we may not pour out our assets such as time and energy, talents and youth, on what is not truly valuable, but on what is truly important, valuable and, thereby, have a truly fulfilling life. Again, what is the truth? The truth is that Jesus is the king, the object of our true loyalty; we must live for him, our king, not for ourselves, not for others, not for money, or fame or political power. Jesus testified to the truth even at the cost of his life. Jesus upheld truth and protected it even to the point of losing his life for it. As a result, the truth is preserved, and today, we know the truth, and we live by the truth. 

 

When Jesus testified to the truth as the matter of life and death, people rejected him and ridiculed him. Even his own people handed him over to the Gentiles to be killed. It seemed that no one was accepting him. But Jesus did not despair, because he knew that there were people who had been looking for the truth and that they would accept him. He said, Everyone on the side of truth listens to me. While so many people rejected him, Jesus was simply looking for those who stood on the side of truth. They were his sheep who would listen to him. 

 

These days, people do not uphold the truth; in this Post-Modern generation, people even deny the existence of the truth. Even in the Christian community, more and more people compromise, and as a result, truth is damaged and it is disappearing; so even church going people don't know the truth any more. It is the trend in the whole world. If things go this way, what would happen to the truth in the end? Perhaps, the truth will disappear in the world, and no one will know the truth, and the whole world will be in complete darkness. In this situation, we must testify to the truth as Jesus didthose on the side of truth listen to Jesus; they are the ones who accept Jesus' teaching, and affirm that the truth Jesus is preaching is the truth; they are the ones who uphold the truth and protect it. When we testify to the truth even at the cost of our life, the truth is preserved, and many people in the world who stand on the side of the truth will enjoy the benefit of our struggle, finding the truth, rejoicing at it, and following Jesus Christ as his disciples. 

 

What a heart moving message it was! I came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me. At this, Pilate should have recognized Jesus' noble heart's decision to live for the truth, and appreciated it, shoutingThank you. But how did he respond? He sarcastically said, What is truth? He simply tossed off Jesus’ message.  The truth Jesus was talking about did not give him any benefit. Jesus himself, who came to testify to the truth was standing on trial. What is truth? Look at yourself! To Pilate, what was most important was political power that gave him practical benefit – that was truth to him. Even though salvation was right in front of him, Pilate missed the chance, because he had no interest in the truth. Many people show the same kind of attitude toward the truth. When they are invited to the truth, they simply toss it off, saying, Does truth give me a job? Does truth help me build a career successfully? Only because of their job, or because of some other peripheral things of this world, they let go of the truth, and their chance for salvation. They look wise and pragmatic, but they are really foolish people.

 

With this Pilate went out again to the Jews and said, I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’? Interestingly, even if Jesus admitted that he was a king, Pilate did not make an issue of it, because he knew that actually the king of the Jews was not about a political king, but about the promised Messiah. In his eyes, Jesus, the king of the Jews was innocent. Now as the judge, it was his obligation to release Jesus freely because he found no basis for a charge against him. But instead of standing on the side of truth, he tried to release Jesus by using their custom; it was his compromise; he didn’t want to anger the crowd to start a riot that would jeopardize his political career. He thought that they would want Jesus, because he was the king of the Jews, their long waited Messiah. But they shouted, No, not him! Give us Barabbas! Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion.

 

One Word:Everyone On The Side Of Truth Listens To Jesus

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