John 18:33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" 34 Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?" 35 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?" 36 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." 37 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."
This conversation is written as if John was standing right next to Jesus, recording his conversation with Pontius Pilate. Obviously this is not the case. It is a reconstruction that seeks to teach a theology of the Kingdom of God. This conversation uses the question “Are you a king?” to challenge those who hear this Gospel to think about their ultimate loyalties: would they be loyal to a temporary political power; or would they let an eternal spiritual power hold them accountable for their daily living? John challenges politicians, traditional leaders, and family heads to hold themselves accountable to a greater, spiritual authority.
Jesus-followers choose to hold ourselves accountable to a truth that is greater than the petty power-play of politicians, the gratuitous grasping of the greedy, and the pompous posturing of the pious.
First Sunday in Advent
1. The Lord is Coming
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 14.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.