Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’
Jesus succinctly defines the Kingdom of God as a Kingdom of truth.
The Kingdom of God is greater than all report, better than all praise of it, more diverse than any conceivable glory. The Kingdom of God is full of light, peace, charity, wisdom, glory, honesty, harmony, loving-kindness and every indescribable and unimaginable good, which can’t be described nor anticipated by our minds.
The citizens of heaven are the angels and those whose king is Almighty God and have put their trust in God. In the Kingdom of God, nothing is desired that may not be found. In the Kingdom of God there is nothing that does not delight and satisfy.
In God’s eternal Kingdom there shall be life without death, truth without falsehood, and happiness without a shadow of unrest or change. Jesus is declaring to Pilate that this is his Kingdom and it is not of this world. It does not rule or govern like the rulers of this world. Jesus had come into this world to give us the truth about God’s Kingdom and the truth that God loved all humanity and wanted a living and loving relationship with them.
That truth could not be fathomed by Pilate, who was well trenched into the earthly Roman kingdom where power and violence took precedence over others and claimed it’s right to rule others. It seems that Pilate is almost on the very verge of believing in Jesus, but like so many of us his earthly power was a stumbling block, so he just washed his hands of what to do with Jesus and did not want anything to do with his death, but neither did he prevent it. He went with the shouts of the crowd.
So our question is that question that Pilate asked Jesus, “What is the truth?” We ask this question, not because we do not know the truth. We have been taught from childhood that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light. We ask this question because we continue to seek the truth that Jesus brings to us in each and every one of our life situations. When we are faced with a question of what we should do, or how we should respond to a relationship issue we want to know the truth that God brings to that situation. If it is a social issue, a friendship issue, a family issue, or a national issue we want to know the truth that Jesus brings to it. And often, like Pilate we don’t want to get involved and so we take the silent way out and let others make those decisions for us. Jesus’ kingdom is not about amassing additional amounts of control. Jesus’ kingdom is not about his ultimate rule over and above others. Jesus’ kingdom is about relationship. He says “My kingdom is not from this world” because it is from God. It does not rule or govern like the rulers of this world.
Jesus calls us in this and every moment to seek God’s truth and seek Jesus’ truth for our decisions. Jesus is speaking to us about our identity and our calling as he answers Pilate. We are Jesus’ representatives of the Kingdom of heaven today on earth. When kingdom is understood from the truth of relationship and not rule, from the truth of incarnation and not location, from the truth of love and not law, then Jesus as truth will ring true.
- If we belong to Jesus we belong to a kingdom that is not of this world. What does that mean when we must make decisions regarding the kingdoms of the world in which we live?
- If we belong to the truth that Jesus brings to our lives, how does that help us make decisions about the relationship issues of our culture here and now?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.