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.”
Jesus says that his kingdom is not of this world. We can see how the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of heaven are different when we look at Pontius Pilate and Jesus of Nazareth.
Pilate and Jesus have a different view of what a leader should do. Pilate uses his power to jockey for position. He makes other people suffer so he can keep his job. That’s what he does for Jesus. He knows that Jesus is an innocent man. He even tells the people. But he allows Jesus to be crucified, because Pilate thought it would keep the people from rioting.
Jesus does the opposite. He doesn’t make others suffer for him. He suffers for others instead. He doesn’t protest his innocence. He just takes the punishment we deserve.
Pilate shows the world’s glory, too. He has the clothes that show off his high office. He sits in judgement in a symbol of Roman power. He has guards that protect him. He has the kind of glory that the world has.
Jesus’ glory is in his suffering. It’s in weak things. Jesus’ glory is hidden beneath his human flesh. His Holy Spirit hides behind human words. Jesus’ forgiveness and new birth hides behind the splash of water in baptism. His body and blood hide beneath styrofoam tasting wafers and cheap wine. They don’t look amazing, but they are the glory of God.
We also know that Pilate’s world is coming to an end while Jesus will continue. Pilate’s struggle for power was meaningless. He didn’t last long as governor of Jerusalem. The only reason we remember his name is because Jesus made it famous. The same is true for the rest of the world. Time is limited. it will come to an end.
Jesus’ kingdom will never end. After he died, he rose from the dead. Now that kingdom will last forever.
Listen to the sermon here.