Sermon: The Kingdom of Truth John 18:28-40

The Kingdom of Truth

John 18:28-40

Truth Taught- Jesus reveals the Truth of God to all who are His.

Introduction

The main focus of the text for today is the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Our Lord says a few things about the nature of His kingdom that should prove very helpful for us today.

Here in this text we see two kingdoms that are in opposition to each other. We see two authorities. We see man’s authority and man’s judgments then we see God’s.

We see the hypocrisy of mankind and the truth of God.

I selected the Apostle’s Creed as our doctrinal reading for today because it mentions Pilate by name. Many scholars have asked why is Pilate mentioned specifically at the omission of others who could have been named?
The consensus is basically that of all those mentioned: Annas, Ciaphas, Herod, and the others, Pilate had the roll of the one in public authority to pass the sentence of death. He, as it were, had control of the human judgment seat. Quite literally, Pilate could pass the death sentence; he was in charge of the Roman government in Jerusalem.

Emperor Tiberius in AD26 gave Pilate the governor’s role. He wasn’t the best of politicians. He wasn’t very good at keeping the peace, especially when it came to the Jews. There were at least four times when the Jews went to the emperor with a complaint against Pilate. The first was when he took office; he immediately brought in and set up pagan gods around the city. This caused the Jews to basically have a sit down strike. All around the city the Jews sat for five days. Everything was shut down and this forced Rome to intercede. Pilate removed the statues…the Jews had won.

Then there was the time when Pilate led a small band of soldiers to take revenge on the Galileans and did so right in the temple in the midst of their sacrificing the animals.

Luke 13:1–2 (ESV)

13 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?

All these confrontations between Pilate and the Jews did not sit well with Tiberius. Basically, all Pilate had to do was stay out of Jewish life and take care of criminals.

Now we see that Pilate is being manipulated by the Jews to get what they want which is the murder of Jesus.

I think we can see how God is sovereignly at work in accomplishing the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. All the players have their own agendas and in a sense their own kingdoms.

The Jews like their world the way it is. They have their kingdom. Pilate has a job to keep and his job security has been running thin lately so, he’s not going to ruffle any feathers. Then we see the real kingdom which is God’s kingdom…not of this world. All these collide and the result is a sinless Savior crucified like a murderer. This is what it took to accomplish the crucifixion of Jesus.

Father, You have Gathered Your people that You may let us hear Your words, so that we may learn to fear You all the days that we live on the earth, and that we may also teach our children…amen

John 18:28–40 (ESV)

28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 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.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

  1. A Kingdom Without a King

28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

Here we see what a kingdom without a king looks like. We also see what religion without faith in God looks like. These Jews were extremely religious but because there was no real faith and because God was not their King they could simply pick and choose what laws to obey and what laws to disobey. In other words, they held the authority or so they thought.
Here’s God’s assessment of a religion without faith…
Isaiah 1:11–18 (ESV)

11    “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?

says the Lord;

       I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams

and the fat of well-fed beasts;

       I do not delight in the blood of bulls,

or of lambs, or of goats.

12    “When you come to appear before me,

who has required of you

this trampling of my courts?

13    Bring no more vain offerings;

incense is an abomination to me.

       New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—

I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.

14    Your new moons and your appointed feasts

my soul hates;

       they have become a burden to me;

I am weary of bearing them.

15    When you spread out your hands,

I will hide my eyes from you;

       even though you make many prayers,

I will not listen;

your hands are full of blood.

16    Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;

remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;

       cease to do evil,

17        learn to do good;

       seek justice,

correct oppression;

       bring justice to the fatherless,

plead the widow’s cause.

18    “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:

       though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

       though they are red like crimson,

they shall become like wool.

Look with me at what religion without faith looks like. In our text John writes that the Jews who led Jesus to Pilate’s house/ Governer’s mansion or more literally, the Praetorium, would not enter themselves because they did not wish to defile themselves by entering into a home of a gentile. Think with me about a religion without faith that says they could plot murder because it suited their needs while at the same time wouldn’t go into Pilate’s mansion because they would become defiled and thus could not continue the Passover celebration. Do you see how twisted man’s religion can get? Murder is ok that wouldn’t defile them but stepping into Pilate’s house would.
2. The Kingdom With the King of Kings

33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 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.”

Pilate and Jesus walk back inside of the Praetorium leaving the Jews outside. The charges were that Jesus claimed to be King and another Gospel tells us that He was telling the Jews not to pay taxes to Caesar, which was completely false. Pilate was interested in these charges to determine if they were true or not. The last thing he needed was an insurrectionist. By asking Jesus, are you a king? He was asking if He was pleading guilty to insurrection, which was a serious crime in Roman occupied territories.

What’s important to note here is that Jesus now begins to ask the questions of Pilate. Christ is interrogating Pilate. Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me? What Jesus is getting at is this…If Pilate is asking this on his own then he has in mind a political king who could possibly be a threat to him and Roman rule. However, if he’s asking because the Jews had said that Jesus was claiming to be a king, then he would have in mind the King of the Jews. If it was the former the answer is no, if it’s the latter then the answer is a resounding YES!

Jesus is the King of the Jews, He is the long awaited Messiah, He is the King from the line of David and would sit on the Davidic thrown forever.

Jesus cannot simply answer yes or no. He is a King but not like Pilate was thinking.

“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.

Our Lord’s kingdom is not an earthly kingdom, not a physical kingdom but a spiritual kingdom. Now, a side note…this does not mean that Jesus’ kingdom is not over the earthly kingdoms. In fact, we read…
Matthew 28:18 (ESV)

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

So to say that His kingdom is only spiritual is somewhat misleading. One commentator puts it this way,
When we say that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, what we are really saying is that Christ’s kingdom is of heaven and therefore has an even greater claim over us than do earthly kingdoms we all know so well…Over these is Christ, and we spurn His kingship not merely at the peril of our fortune and lives but at the peril of our eternal souls. [1]

  1. The Kingdom of Truth

37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

There is the world’s kingdom and then there is God’s kingdom. The world order is pragmatism, relativism, inclusivism etc.

The Law of Pragmatism says that if it works then do it. If stealing or murder accomplishes your goals then they must be ok. If the pregnancy is a bother then murdering the unborn baby is ok, we call it the mother’s choice. We call evil good and good evil.
The Law of Relativism says that there is no all-encompassing truth that is the same for everyone for all times. Your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth, even if they are diametrically opposed to each other, in a world of relativism they are both equally valid.
The Law of Inclusivism states that all religions are equally valid. All beliefs and religions are going to lead, in the end, to the same place and all worship the same god.

1 John 2:15–17 (ESV)

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

As Christians we cannot view things like the world does. We must have a godly perspective on the world not a worldly one. One reason, Jesus came to earth as the Son of God was to instruct us in truth.

For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.

For Jesus, truth is not something to be manipulated and twisted like the world does but He came to reveal truth.
Jesus even prayed that God’s truth would sanctify us or make us holy and set us apart from the world.

John 17:17 (ESV)

17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

Here in John 17, Jesus could have used the form of alethey the Greek word for true. He could have said Your Word is true. Notice He does not say that. What Jesus tells us as He prays to the Father here is that God’s Word is not simply true but is truth itself. The Word of God is the Standard of Truth, it is the essence of truth. It’s what truth is. This is what Jesus came to accomplish, namely, to make God known to the world through God’s Word. He is making known Truth.

This is why when we read the Bible we must believe it completely, even the things that are more difficult to swallow. When we read it and struggle with a certain truth realize we are the ones off in our reasoning not God. God’s Word is perfect, and authoritative and absolutely 100 percent Truth

  1. A Kingdom Without a King and Without Truth

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

Here is a very sad picture of what mankind who lives in sin without God looks like.
Pilate has determined that Jesus has done nothing wrong. He is completely innocent. Even the sinful worldly court of Pilate cannot find any guilt in Jesus whatsoever.
This, however, is not what the Jews came for. They want Jesus put to death. Theirs is a kingdom without a king and without truth. God is not their king so they just do whatever they like whenever they like thinking that they will get away with it. They have no truth because all truth comes from God and they refuse to listen to an obey God’s Word which is Truth itself.

So, in the end, Barabbas, a thief is set free and Jesus will be sent to be crucified. Can we see how sinful and evil our world is. This is the picture of fallen humanity. This is what happens when the sinless Son of God is sent to earth, we murder Him. Because, apart from Jesus Christ reconciling us to the Father we have no King and have no Truth.

Application
Jesus came to reveal the Truth to us. In God’s Word which Jesus calls The Truth we are shown the truth about ourselves and the truth about God. Our thinking is changed as we renew our minds as we read the Bible. We are told the truth.
Our Lord has said that God’s Word is Truth John 17:17. In John 14:6, Jesus says that He is the Way the Truth and the Life. Here we see that John connects Jesus’ claims in His prologue by calling Jesus the Word of God. So we have two Words of God…The Bible and the Lord Jesus and both testify to the Truth of God.

Look with me at what Truth revealed and taken in accomplishes in the life of a believer…
John 8:31–32 (ESV)

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Pilate did not know the Truth did he? In fact He asks Jesus the question that the stoics and most all other philosophers ask…What Is Truth?
Beloved the Truth is the Word of God…written and incarnate.

[1] Boice, The Gospel of John

%d bloggers like this: