John 18:33-40: The truth about Jesus.
“33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’34 ‘Is that your own idea,’ Jesus asked, ‘or did others talk to you about me?’35 ‘Am I a Jew?’ Pilate replied. ‘Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?’36 Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.’37 ‘You are a king, then!’ said Pilate.Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’38 ‘What is truth?’ retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, ‘I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release “the king of the Jews”?’40 They shouted back, ‘No, not him! Give us Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.” NIV
Pilate’s somewhat cynical sounding question (38a) follows an important statement by Jesus: ”Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognises my voice” (37) ‘The Message’. If you are a sincere seeker after truth, read the words of Jesus. Look at the life of Jesus, and then tell me that He doesn’t ‘ring’ true. I read a book by a seasoned missionary/Bible teacher, in which he said that, in his experience, it is rare for an adult to take a serious look at Jesus and not be converted. Here is ultimate reality in human form.
Throughout this chapter we have seen the majesty of Christ. He is the one being hounded, arrested and abused, yet there is no doubt that He is in control and that God’s overall plan is unfolding. Prophecy is being fulfilled. Although He seems to be the one on trial, it is in fact Pilate and His other Jewish accusers who are in the dock. Here is a King of a different kind (36;see 2 Corinthians 10:4) – a King who wasn’t just ”born” but who came ”into the world” (37). He is pre-existent. He has always been, the eternal Son of God. But at a certain point in time He stepped into history. He is a King like no other, and He has left huge ‘footprints’ on the shores of time.
However, we can reject the reign of this King. That is what happened then (39, 40). It is still happening today. Many people now will opt for ”Barabbas” over Jesus. They choose another who, they imagine, will be the easier option; more comfortable to live with. They do this even though it may seem to be an obviously damaging choice. In the rejection of our true King – the One for whose reign we were created – we are self-condemned (John 3:18). Barabbas is also a ‘type’ of the human race. He was guilty. He should have died. But the innocent Jesus died in his place (38-40). This is the heart of the gospel.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord Jesus for dying in the place of this rebel. I look at Barabbas and I see myself.