“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.”
This scene between Jesus and Pilate is all about the power struggle between them. Pilate thinks he is putting Jesus on trial, but it turns out that Jesus is more interested in challenging Pilate than defending himself.
This is the case because Jesus has an entirely different view of power. Pilate is focused on maintaining his position of authority over the Jews. He does not really believe that Jesus is guilty. But in the end, Pilate will choose the politically smart thing and hand Jesus over to be crucified in order to keep his power.
By contrast, Jesus’ power doesn’t come from amassing control or preserving his own interests. If it did, then Jesus and his followers would have fought for his release, he said.
Instead, real power—kingdom power—is about giving of ourselves for the sake of others. Real power is in the ability to give of oneself so that another may find life. Jesus knows his death will be painful and difficult, but he follows through with a display of power that has never been seen before—all for the sake of this sinful world.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to pursue this kind of power rather than the power that the world offers. Are we giving of ourselves in service to others so that they can have life?
Lord, help me to display kingdom power in my service to others rather than accumulating power for myself. Amen.
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