“Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate 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?” (John 18:33-35)
I am never quite sure how to understand and interpret Jesus being brought before the civil officials. Some passage in the gospels say that Jesus did not defend himself when questioned. Others, like this one, seem to have the type of interactions that Jesus had with the Pharisees, Sadducees and other such people.
This Sunday, being the last Sunday in the liturgical year (where has the year gone!) is Feast of Christ Sunday. It is fitting then to focus on Jesus’ reign, and the latter verses of this passage do just that.
“Jesus 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.” 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.” (Verses 36-37)
John is a gospel that asserts Jesus in all his Divinity and power. It is not surprising then that the Jesus Christ in the passage is assertive with Pilate, where in other gospels Jesus has a humbler tone. In this, Jesus is an enigma. Our Lord Jesus can and is so many different things to different people and different beliefs. Are they all the truth?
I am not suggesting that our Lord Jesus should be confined to just one type of Messiah. But how are we to know if our view of Jesus is “the truth”? When scripture is read and interpreted, how do we know that our reading and interpretation is the the truth? Mennonites believe that the Holy Spirit helps us understand and interpret scripture. And I have found that to be very true. But even then the question hangs . . . how do we know? I wish I could give you, beloved reader, a definitive answer. I cannot. However, I strongly feel if we keep reading, seeking, and pursuing what is the most true we will not go astray.
There is one more reading for this week, and then verses that are specifically for Thanksgiving. Then next Sunday we start in on a new lectionary year – Year C. It is a year where we seek and do penance, confessing our sins and receiving forgiveness. The story of the prodigal son is referred to frequently. I will have more to say tomorrow.
May you, beloved reader, continue to seek our Lord Jesus Christ – seeking the truth that was and is revealed in His Reign. Selah!