World Wide Study Bible

Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37Pilate 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.”


Select a resource above

33-38. Pilate … called Jesus, and said … Art thou the King of the Jews?—In Lu 23:2 they charge our Lord before Pilate with "perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, saying that He Himself is Christ a king." Perhaps this was what occasioned Pilate's question.

34. Jesus answered … Sayest thou this of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?—an important question for our Lord's case, to bring out whether the word "King" were meant in a political sense, with which Pilate had a right to deal, or whether he were merely put up to it by His accusers, who had no claims to charge Him but such as were of a purely religious nature, with which Pilate had nothing to do.

35. Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests delivered thee to me: What hast thou done?—that is, "Jewish questions I neither understand nor meddle with; but Thou art here on a charge which, though it seems only Jewish, may yet involve treasonable matter: As they state it, I cannot decide the point; tell me, then, what procedure of Thine has brought Thee into this position." In modern phrase, Pilate's object in this question was merely to determine the relevancy of the charge.

36. Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world—He does not say "not over," but "not of this world"—that is, in its origin and nature; therefore "no such kingdom as need give thee or thy master the least alarm."

if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews—"A very convincing argument; for if His servants did not fight to prevent their King from being delivered up to His enemies, much less would they use force for the establishment of His kingdom" [Webster and Wilkinson].

but now—but the fact is.

is my kingdom not from hence—Our Lord only says whence His kingdom is not—first simply affirming it, next giving proof of it, then reaffirming it. This was all that Pilate had to do with. The positive nature of His kingdom He would not obtrude upon one who was as little able to comprehend it, as entitled officially to information about it. (It is worthy of notice that the "MY," which occurs four times in this one verse—thrice of His kingdom, and once of His servants—is put in the emphatic form).

37. Art thou a king then?—There was no sarcasm or disdain in this question (as Tholuck, Alford, and others, allege), else our Lord's answer would have been different. Putting emphasis upon "thou," his question betrays a mixture of surprise and uneasiness, partly at the possibility of there being, after all, something dangerous under the claim, and partly from a certain awe which our Lord's demeanor probably struck into him.

Thou sayest that I am a king—It is even so.

To this end was I—"have I been."

born and for this cause came I—am I come.

into the world, that I may bear witness to the truth—His birth expresses His manhood; His coming into the world, His existence before assuming humanity: The truth, then, here affirmed, though Pilate would catch little of it, was that His Incarnation was expressly in order to the assumption of Royalty in our nature. Yet, instead of saying, He came to be a King, which is His meaning, He says He came to testify to the truth. Why this? Because, in such circumstances it required a noble courage not to flinch from His royal claims; and our Lord, conscious that He was putting forth that courage, gives a turn to His confession expressive of it. It is to this that Paul alludes, in those remarkable words to Timothy: "I charge thee before God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who, in the presence of Pontius Pilate, witnessed the good confession" (1Ti 6:13). This one act of our Lord's life, His courageous witness-bearing before the governor, was selected as an encouraging example of the fidelity which Timothy ought to display. As the Lord (says Olshausen beautifully) owned Himself the Son of God before the most exalted theocratic council, so He confessed His regal dignity in presence of the representative of the highest political authority on earth.

Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice—Our Lord here not only affirms that His word had in it a self-evidencing, self-recommending power, but gently insinuated the true secret of the growth and grandeur of His kingdom—as A Kingdom of truth, in its highest sense, into which all souls who have learned to live and count all things but loss for the truth are, by a most heavenly attraction, drawn as into their proper element; THE King of whom Jesus is, fetching them in and ruling them by His captivating power over their hearts.




Advertisements