MESSIANIC MISUNDERSTANDING (JN 18,PS 25)
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.” 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 purposeI have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:36-37 ESV)
When you read the different accounts in the gospels of Jesus' trial, you will notice the different strategies/accusations made against Jesus. At the home of the Jewish high priest, Caiaphas, he is questioned on a religious basis. They ask him about his teachings, his claims to be the Son of God, and his use of Messianic titles like Son of Man. They are enraged because they see him as a blasphemous false prophet.
When the Jews take Jesus before the Roman governor, Pilate, their claims against him turn political rather than religious. The Jews want Jesus to be killed, but cannot kill him themselves because of their laws. They also know that the Roman government is not concerned with religious squabbles, but they are concerned with treason and uprisings. The Jews paint Jesus as a religious zealot who does not honor Caesar.
Pilate is not so convinced of their claims against Jesus, and yet the fear of the people causes him to call for his crucifixion anyway. The Jews have succeeded in their mission, not even knowing that their sinful actions are the means through which God brought salvation to the world. The Jews did not recognize their Messiah.
The general expectation at the time of the Messiah was a warrior king who would come to free them from Roman oppression. This Jesus, a carpenter's son, uneducated, seemingly radical rabbi was not what they understood their promised savior to be. However, Jesus reveals his true purpose and corrects the wrong expectations when he is talking with Pilate.
The Jews wanted an earthly king to save them. Jesus' kingdom was and is not of this world. His Messiahship extends beyond a specific time in Jewish history. He came to reveal the truth about God and to fulfill the plan for the salvation of the world that had been prophesied of throughout Jewish history. Jesus was seen as lesser and weaker than what they perceived their Messiah to be. When in fact he was not only greater and more powerful than they anticipated, but THE greatest and THE most powerful - The God-man who would die for the sins of the world and rise from the dead to conquer it and prove himself true.
This is the Messiah that was beautifully unexpected, and praise God that he does not often give us what we expect. His plans are better than we can imagine, and this is what we celebrate this Sunday. We have a Messiah who is greater than a warrior king. He is the God of the world.
The other accounts of Jesus' trial: