But Jesus’s Kingdom is not of this world

John 18:33-38 Pilate called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him. Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?” “Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” “What is truth?” Pilate asked.

I thought of this intriguing passage when I read this opinion piece in the New York Times yesterday morning: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/09/us/politics/lies-damned-lies-and-washington.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_191210?campaign_id=2&instance_id=14319&segment_id=19468&user_id=4c581b5e2a85dc7aee8f698dd30213e0&regi_id=609579281210

The question “What is truth?” matters now as much as it did two thousand years ago. Jesus wasn’t afraid to address it boldly, despite strong reactions. See, for example, John 8:42-47 and Matthew 15:10-20. He clearly believed objective truth existed, and that it mattered. In fact, in his conversation with Pilate, Jesus made what seems like a leap in logic, from the question of being a king to this bald statement: “I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth.”

Here are some questions I’m thinking about:

  • Is it possible to exercise political authority in this world while speaking only truth?
  • Do we have any examples of absolute integrity among our political leaders, past or present?
  • Was it possible for Jesus to speak only truth because his Kingdom is not of this world?
  • If truth was so important to Jesus, yet so hard to find in our political arena, dare I align myself and the name of my holy Lord to ANY specific politician or political persuasion?

While I ponder, I do know for sure that God wants me to think and speak truth, as faithfully as I am able to discern what that is.

2 thoughts on “But Jesus’s Kingdom is not of this world

  1. I find myself thinking that our human truths are at best subjective – that Jesus’ contact with higher realities allowed him to be utterly unique in how he approached the political controversies of his day (many of which he just stayed out of) and present a vision of a different kind of kingdom that can progress whether or not Jesus’ followers have any sort of political power in human terms. As such, I am hopeful that connection deeper into him allows us to move past our own controversies and see each other as people to be loved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good comment, Rae. We have some anchor points so it’s not reduce to “your truth” and “my truth”. The Scriptures are perhaps our biggest anchor point. The Holy Spirit is another (John 16:13) as he leads us into all truth.
      The early church faced this difficulty. It said that true doctrine would align with three things: the Scriptures, the creeds and what the church has held to throughout time.
      So it’s not a new battle. It’s just gotten much more serious in our relativistic age.

      Liked by 1 person

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