In the 18th chapter of John we find the apostle’s account of Jesus’ arrest and His subsequent standing before Pontius Pilate. Remarkably, though there is a great chasm fixed, both culturally and religiously, between the world of Jewish rulers and the world of a Roman ruler, they are both precariously perched on a very flimsy platform. They are working with great power and influence, but they are equally blind to the reality of truth.
The religious leaders of Israel, though jealous for doctrine and spiritual practice, are being used like puppets in the hands of the powers of darkness. In verse 28 they refrain from entering the Praetorium (the governor’s official residence), so as not to be defiled for the Passover. But while they refrain from that overt defilement, they are in the process of something far more treacherous: hoping to organize the crucifixion of the Lord of glory!
Pilate, a Roman ruler with great power and even greater indifference to the God of Israel, had no clue who he was dealing with. He was looking upon the One that “the prophets longed to see,” and for him it was one more mundane event for the day- a minor religious skirmish among the Jewish ranks, and a situation to be quickly resolved for the sake of political tranquility. Sarcastically he asks, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He has no idea that he is speaking to the One who will trample the nations in His anger at the end of the age. He has no idea that he is speaking to the One who will die on his behalf, and on behalf of all mankind. He has no idea that this mangled Jewish Man is actually the Eternal One, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace. He warrants His crucifixion, though he washes his hands and wants no part in the details of the event.
Too often, I fear, we modern Christians are living on the same grounds as these rulers. Either we are so blinded by our correctness and religiousness aloofness that we cannot recognize the true nature and purpose of God, or we are merely repeating that which we hear from other souls.
The Lord is after a people who are not speaking about Him from their own canned correctness, but from the place of revelation. Too often, preachers are merely repeating that which they’ve heard elsewhere, rather than meeting with God themselves, and becoming vessels who speak the very utterances of the Lord. Do not too flippantly handle the word of God. Do not call Him King in some casual or lackadaisical way. Do not carry out a Christian walk that is only a copy of what you’ve heard from other men. Ascend the hill of the Lord yourself, dear saint. He will make Himself known to you, and you will not be asked the question that He asked Pilate:
“Are you saying this from yourself, or did others tell you about Me?”