Solemnity of Christ The King
Daniel 7:13-14 II:
33 Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"
34 Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?"
35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?"
36 Jesus answered, "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world."
37 Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice."
38 Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, "I find no crime in him.
- Chapter 18 of John describes the arrest and the trial of Jesus. Here is the sequence of actions:
- Jesus is arrested (vv. 1-11)
- Jesus is brought to Caiphas (13-14)
- Peter denies Jesus (15-18)
- Caiphas interrogates Jesus (19-24)
- Peter denies Jesus again (25-27)
- Pilate talks with "the Jews" about what they have accused Jesus (28-32)
- Pilate talks with Jesus about Jesus' kingship (33-38)
- Pilate talks with "the Jews" again about Jesus' innocence (39-40)
Today, our reading (Pilate talks with Jesus about his kingship, vv. 33b-38) deals with the charge against Jesus.
- In v. 33, when Pilate asks Jesus: "Are you the King of the Jews?" (v. 33), he helps clarifying the charge against Jesus. Jesus was accused of being a king (a political, revolutionary leader), which indicates some sort of rebellion against the Roman Empire.
- Jesus replies that his kingdom is not of this world (v. 36). We may restate this as "his kingdom is in this world" but not "of (or belonging to) this world." Here, the world (or the flesh) indicates the evil of the world. This statement shows the dualism between the goodness of Jesus and the evil of world.
- Later, Jesus said he was born and came into the world to testify to the truth (v. 37). Like Pilate, we response in unison: What is truth? In John, we hear about the spirit of truth, about the truth sets us free. Jesus' word is equated with truth. Truth is real; truth is true. It is the reference to God, o a divine reality, of which Jesus came to reveal to us.
- Lastly, Jesus' answer assures Pilate that he is not a political evolutionary. Interestingly, Jesus managed to "turn the table" on Pilate in the sense of challenging Pilate's ability to see the "truth" (v. 38). So Pilate is now on trial!
One Main Point
Jesus came to testify to the truth, and those who belong to him will listen to his voice. As professed Christians, our vocation is to accept this truth, which will transform our lives so we can recognize Jesus' voice. In other words, our task is to be "enlightened" and Jesus is the source of our "enlightenment."
- Jesus is on trial. His values are on trial. I put myself in his trial scene. When was the trial? Where am I? Who am I? What am I?
- How is Jesus my king?
- Jesus came to testify to the truth, to show us God's life. How do I belong to him? What is truth for me?
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community