The King & The Truth
The rapper, and sometimes Presidential candidate, Kayne West (I'm not going to ask you to raise your hand if you voted for him, but I know for a fact we have folks that did--side note: he got more votes in TN than any other state) released his 9th album in October of 2019. The album title was: Jesus is King. Kayne had a very public transformation in his focus and began openly talking about his faith in Jesus. I have no idea where that is now or what the state of Kayne's heart was/is, but this was happening in a very public way a few years ago.
One description of the album reads: "In Jesus Is King, West teaches the doctrine of the Social Kingship of Christ through his advocation of "defying worldly authorities" and "seek[ing] liberty from lower powers by submitting to a higher one." The album title is not the invention of Kayne, but a long-held Christian belief from the Scriptures.
The Bible teaches that Jesus is King. We believe this morning that Jesus is King over all the universe. But this raises the question: what kind of King? Is He a puppet king? Is he a real king, which implies real authority and power? Or is He a king over a small faction of people without any real power? Is he just king over our hearts, but not over any real practical things?
We're going to examine Jesus and Pilate's interaction today around the subjection of Jesus' Kingship and the truth.
We return to John 18. We've seen Jesus arrested and sent to Annas and Caiphas. Then he is hauled to Pilate and the Jews want Him sentenced to capital punishment.
vs 33 -- Pilate goes back into his headquarters and addresses Jesus again. He asks him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Why does he ask this? Lukes Gospel informs us more about what the religious leaders tell Pilate in Luke 23:2, "And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”" So this explains why Pilate's question to Jesus is whether or not He is King of the Jews.
vs 34-35 -- Jesus knows where he has heard the news. So he asks Pilate if this is from his own intuition or whether others said that about him. Pilate's response is to dismiss his concerns about Jewish squabbles. He's not a Jew. He's not concerned about their Messiah debates. He then answers Jesus by asking Him what He has done to upset the chief priests.
vs 36 -- But Jesus goes back to the King question and not to the issue the chief priests have with him. He says His kingdom is not of this world. That doesn't mean "not in the world" it means "not from the world." He then tells Pilate that if His kingdom were earthly He would have done what many kingdoms historically had done: build an army to conquer the existing power. His servants would have been trained, prepared, and deployed to fight. Instead, Jesus willingly hands himself over telling them not to fight.
Pilate seems satisfied with Jesus' answer and it reassures him to some degree that Jesus isn't a threat to Rome in a military and political sense. He is absolutely a threat to Rome as will unfold in the years that follow.
vs 37 -- Pilate doesn't seek clarity about "not of this world" but fixates on Jesus' mention of a kingdom. He says, "So you are a king?" "So it's true then?" Jesus answers "You say that I am a king." This is strangely worded translated here. Jesus' response is an affirmation. It would be rendered in English, "You affirm the truth" or "Your declaration is correction" or "You speak truthfully." Jesus affirms. Then he goes on to describe His purpose as king to come into the world to bear witness to the truth.
What does He mean? He means He has come into the world to bear witness about reality. He testifies to who God is. He tells us who man is. He comes to share the gospel. He comes to speak about things to come. He embodies the truth. All truth is God's truth. All true things are true because God made the world to function that way.
The truth that 2+2= 4 is God's truth. Physics (which studies how the universe behaves--motion, energy, thermodynamics) is God's truth. Jesus comes not only as the messenger of truth, but as the foundation of truth. All things were made by Him and for Him, and He sustains every single thing.
Jesus goes on to say that everyone who is of the truth listens to His voice. Anyone really of the truth will listen to the voice of truth. To turn from Him is to turn from the truth.
vs 38a -- Pilate's response is flippant and cynical: "What is truth?" It's not inquisitive or seeking. It is arrogant and dismissive. But it is still a fantastic question. It is a question that many ask in the same way as Pilate, dismissing
truth as something they can bend to their wills. Others are seeking and wanting the truth. And Jesus makes it clear to us that is found in Him alone.
Christ the King -- Our faith is not built on the idea that Jesus is the King of Heaven, only. We believe Jesus is the King everywhere, all the time. When we say "Jesus is Lord" to someone, we don't mean in such a way that they could respond "Yes, that's true for you." We mean it is true cosmically or it's not true at all.
Jesus is king of a real kingdom. It is more real than even Rome could ever be. His kingdom come to earth has a different set of operating principles. It is powerfully at work within the world, but it does not receive its marching orders from the present rulers of the world.
Now let's get this straight...Jesus doesn't command us to raise up an army to go take over kingdoms by force of arms and raise a Christian flag over the courthouse. He is King, but it is with the gospel that we make His reign known and call people to submit to Him. The Good News of the gospel throughout the New Testament and first two centuries was "Jesus is Lord." The implication of that was that Caesar was not. Not that Caesar didn't have authority over the
Roman Empire, it's that he didn't have the ultimate authority. Jesus was Lord over Caesar, not in just a spiritual way, but in every way. The same is true today. Getting this embedded into our understanding today frames the world in a completely different light.
Truth -- The truth is ultimately everything that proceeds from the mouth of God. God's Word is truth and Jesus has already prayed that the Father would sanctify His people in the truth.
Francis Schaeffer said it this way:
"Christianity is not a series of truths in the plural, but rather truth spelled with a capital "T." Truth about total reality, not just about religious things. Biblical Christianity is Truth concerning total reality--and the intellectual holding of that total Truth and then living in the light of that Truth."
Christianity gives the truth about the whole reality and a perspective on interpreting every subject matter. How? Because the underlying structure of the entire universe reflects the mind of the Creator. All of creation must be interpreted in light of its relationship to God. In any subject area we study, we are discovering the laws or creation ordinances by which God structured the world. Why? Because it was made by, sustained by, and ruled over by a King--Jesus.
Truth matters. This is why Nancy Pearcey, a Christian philospher and apologist says, "As Christian parents, pastors, teachers, and youth group leaders, we constantly see young people pulled down by the undertow of powerful cultural trends. If all we give them is a "heart" religion, it will not be strong enough to counter the lure of attractive but dangerous ideas. Young believers also need a "brain" religion--training in worldview and apologetics--to equip them to analyze and critique the competing worldviews they will encounter when they leave home."
We had a Knowing Jesus Ministries meeting recently where this was the heart of our conversation. All of us are facing an enemy. There is a hostile culture warring against Jesus' reign and against truth. Yet the Church at large in our world have not trained and equipped believers to stand firm in the faith. This leaves individuals with a lack of knowledge to stand in the truth and breeds a lack of confidence and certainly in what they believe. We discussed as a ministry: that's why we exist! We're here to Keep you in the fight.
That's why TJC keeps seeing the fruit we do. We know you need "brain" religion and not just "heart" religion:
this is why TJC addresses these issues and even have classes for learning more
this is why TJC is committed to starting a school
The coronation of King Charles III happened yesterday (Saturday). It is historic when these kinds of things happen. The last coronation in England was in 1953 (70 years ago). The monarch goes back to King Alfred the Great in 871AD. Guys, think about that...King Charles III is in a line that goes back 1,200 years and 37 generations. These coronation ceremonies are filled with pageantry and tradition. But the overriding theme of the coronation of a King or Queen is to recognize that they are under *the* King. So much of the ceremony is about the King recognizing his authority comes from above. His model is Christ. His direction is God's Word. There is literally a moment of silent prayer before the oath in which the king must bow his head in prayer, recognizing and acknowledging his homage to Christ the King before anybody ever pays homage to him. He's showing that he is under a Greater King.
Make no mistake about it: Jesus is King. There is a reason why He is proclaimed "King of kings and Lord of lords." It is more than religious jargon. It is an actuality. He is the King of kings in the world. He authoritative King above every other king. Jesus sits enthroned over the world today. He reigns over it all, even those who do not recognize or bow to His reign.
But one day all will see and know. That is why we are told that one day every knee show bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord or King. They will pay homage to the King. And even in the New Heavens and New Earth, we are told that the New Jerusalem will descend from Heaven to the Earth. The glory of Christ will be the light in that city. The Lamb will be the lamp (Rev. 21:23). And we read:
Revelation 21:24 -- By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.
One day every earthly king will acknowledge the True King. But the duty now of every individual is to bow the knee to Him. This is what salvation is, gang. It isn't simply looking for a way to get to Heaven. It is recognizing the world's True King, understanding your rebellion against Him, but receiving the pardon for sin that He has secured through His own death and resurrection. To receive it, and find forgiveness, is to bow the knee and confess Him as Lord. He's not Lord over some segmented spiritual kingdom. He is Lord of all.
Christians are the one's that acknowledge Jesus as the rightful King and live for Him (walking in the truth). Gathering together on Sunday is our time to worship Him as such and be formed into the kind of people who live for His glory each day.
❖ Why do you think Pilate asked Jesus if he was King of the Jews?
❖ Why doesn’t Jesus just come out and say that he is the King of the Universe?
❖ What does Jesus mean that his kingdom is not of this world?
❖ What are the servants of Jesus fighting for?
❖ What does Jesus mean that his purpose for coming into the world was to bear witness to the truth?
❖ How would you answer someone that asks, “What is truth”?
❖ How would you respond to someone who claims that you are a bigot because you believe this truth?
❖ Does your life reflect this truth? Do you live as if Jesus is truly the King of the Universe?
❖ Who do you know that needs to hear this truth regardless of what they think of you after they hear it?
❖ John 18:37 - Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
❖ 2 Timothy 2:15 - Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.