So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to Him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about Me?" Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You over to me. What have You done?" 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 was confused. The prisoner, Jesus, was not behaving in any way that Pilate could understand. He refused to answer the charges against Him. When He did speak, He gave mysterious answers. And He agreed that He was in fact a King—but not the kind of king Pilate was familiar with.
Pilate was a soldier, a governor in service to the Roman emperor. The armies of the Roman empire had conquered huge areas of the ancient world, including the tiny country where Jesus lived. Pilate understood fighting, understood using your power to take what you wanted. But here was Jesus saying the exact opposite: "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."
What kind of a kingdom was that? What kind of a King was that—One who would choose to wear a crown of thorns, and take a shameful cross for His royal throne?
This is the king who came to set us free, God Himself in human flesh. He was turning the world upside down—setting the prisoners free, breaking the power of evil, destroying the power of death. And He chose to win this war in a way that nobody had ever seen before—through His own suffering, death, and resurrection.
This will never make sense to people who see the world as a place to use your power and take what you want. But for everyone who receives the free love and mercy of God, it makes perfect sense. Jesus didn't come to destroy or to dominate. He came to save us, to lift us up and make us free.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for giving Yourself for us. Amen.
* Have you ever been under the authority of someone who managed people by fear? How did you feel about that person?
* Have you ever been under the authority of someone who served people from a heart of love? How did you feel about that person?
* Was there ever a time when you could have used your power against someone and chose not to? What was their reaction?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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