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John 18:33-37 – Kingdom Authority
by Gary Sims
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The Gospels
John 18:33-37 – Kingdom Authority

Key Verses:(NRSV)

  • 33: “Then Pilate…summoned Jesus, and asked Him, ‘Are you King of the Jews?’” – Out of all the questions Pilate could have asked, he focuses on the only question that still faces us today – Who are your really, Jesus? From where does your authority come?

  • 34: “Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on our own, or did others tell you about me?’” – Jesus is pointing an accusing finger at the scribes and Pharisees for putting Pilate up to this but, mostly, He is stressing the importance of having the correct attitude when we come seeking Him, and how it plays a critical role in understanding who He is.

  • 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?’” – The Pharisees, fearing how Jesus could affect their influence within the Jewish community, turned Him over to the Romans saying that Jesus claimed to be king – a charge of heresy against Rome.

  • 36: “Jesus answered,, ‘My kingdom is not from this world.’” – The word kingdom can refer to the region of influence one has but, in this case it implies from where Jesus’ authority is based. His authority may not be human based but His influence is.

  • 37: “Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am 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.” – Pilate’s next question, “But what is truth?” illustrates that he, personally, is outside God’s realm. When we come to know Christ, His truth becomes open and available to us in amazing clarity.
Points to Contemplate:
  • Who is Jesus to you? Is He your king? Do you see that at some point in our lives we all have to answer that question? The choice is ours to make but it remains a choice for all? In accepting Christ as your Savior have you also accepted His authority over you? Does it feel paradoxical to have your King willing to give His life so you can live? Can you imagine playing a game of chess where the king dies in order to protect the pawns? Does this illustrate how Christ has turned the world up-side-down?

  • Did others tell you about Jesus? Why did Jesus ask this of Pilate? Does it illustrate how personal a relationship with Christ must be? Does it show you that you can’t simply be in a crowd of believers and be saved by association? That Jesus “groupies” do not have a reservation in heaven? Does this teach you that a relationship with Christ is based solely on your personal commitment to Him and His love for you?

  • Where is your kingdom? What areas of influence do you have? Do you always feel under control? Or do you become frustrated when things in your kingdom are not going well? Under whose authority are you running your kingdom? Is it time to look to the higher power? Is it time to hand your kingdom over to God and allow Him to manage things? Do you see that when you operate in His kingdom under His authority that your life is blessed, that your territories grow, that you feel His presence wherever you go, and that He keeps your from harm?

  • Do you belong to the truth? Do you listen for His voice? Are you amazed how the Truth seems to be more readily available to you as your faith grows? Have you experienced enlightenment and epiphanies? Have you had Bible verses suddenly come alive and their seemingly hidden meaning open up before your eyes? Do you recognize it is the Holy Spirit working within you that is opening up these truths to you? When you are struggling with understanding do you pray for His guidance?
Promises of the Gospel:

Pilate sits as accuser/judge over Jesus and yet, he is faced with the exact same question we must all address in our lives. Who is Jesus? This is not a question for community. It is a uniquely personal question that can only be addressed on a personal basis. When we accept Christ as our Lord (king) and Savior, we find that we are able to turn over to Him control of the kingdoms we have ineffectively tried to rule. Instead of ruling our kingdoms we find that listening for His voice and focusing on His truth becomes a more important use of our time and better serves His kingdom for all time.

FUMC Devotionals

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Member Comments
Member Date
Kathy Pollock 20 Nov 2003
Gary, nice job on this. Your points are clearly made, and you make personal challenges--which is what our relationship with Christ is all about!


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