We come to the last week of Jesus’ life and ministry on the earth. He came to His people, the Jews, to reveal the Father and the gospel of salvation. Others have also heard this message of grace. The oppressive Roman government in none too pleased. Nor are the Jewish religious leaders who seek to restore the kingdom that flourished in David’s time through their own efforts.
This man from Nazareth, of all places, has not acted according to the norms of society and the cultural institutions of His time. Yet the perennial two choices remain the same: Do we accept this Son of Man as God’s anointed one—the Messiah, the Christ—or do we reject Him because He is not what we expect? It seems that many are more concerned about bringing down the political rulers instead.
We come next to the judicial courts. The Jewish religious leaders have brought Jesus before Pilate, the Roman governor over Judea. Based on the leaders’ charges, Pilate asks, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus responds, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36).
Not quite sure about the answer, Pilate asks, “So are you a king then?”
Jesus responds, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Still not sure what to make of this man and the trumped-up charges against Him, Pilate asks the rhetorical question, “What is truth?” and then promptly leaves, not caring about the answer. His reaction reverberates through many who could care less about the truth. They just want to live life their way.
So what does this scene mean to us today? Jesus gives us the answer in the Parable of the Sower. The seed being sown is the Word of truth spoken and demonstrated by Jesus; the Seed that is about to be sown is Christ upon the cross for the sins of the world.
“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart” (Matthew 13:19). The wicked one is Satan, who deceives the vulnerable and distracts the sincere from their true calling. Both are blinded.
So what exactly is this kingdom that is not of this world, society, or culture? The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 14:17—for the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Our calling as Christ’s disciples has not changed. “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). How do we catch these fish? With the peace and joy we have no matter what is happening around us. With a grace that can only come by knowing the righteousness we have in Christ. We catch fish by providing that which is not of this world.