There is a great hymn whose first line goes like this: “I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back, no turning back.”
This week we have decided to take those words literally. We are going to follow Jesus on the journey of his last week on earth; the most important, impacting week that was ever lived on this planet.
Each day take a little time (20-40 minutes) to read each passage and devotional thought. Reflect on the questions at the end of each section and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. Receive the truth, even it if hurts, because He gives it with love. Allow Him to transform your thinking, your agendas, your outlook and your passions. By doing so, you are following the path of Jesus and will experience a greater measure of life that you never thought possible. It will be a week that will change your world.
A Tale of Two Kingdoms (John 18:33-38)
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” 36 Jesus said, “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.” 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.
The Gospel of John gives us this extraordinary dialogue between two rulers: Pilate and Jesus. In a pause before what will be excruciating suffering and death, Pilate and Jesus have a heart to heart discussion about reality, truth and Kingdoms.
Both his speech and his actions demonstrate that Jesus is living in a different realm than Pilate. While Pilate questions Jesus about being a king in the worldly sense, Jesus questions Pilate on whether he understands the heavenly kingdom. Pilate’s realm consists of power by force, fear, manipulation and death. His jurisdiction is based on geography. Jesus’ realm is much more dangerous. His power is based on truth, love, sacrifice and life. His jurisdiction is the human heart. The heavenly realm, as Jesus taught, is not about clouds, harps and angels. It is the earthly and supernatural reality lived under the reign of God. In the midst of Pilate’s worry-filled earthly realm, Jesus lives in the confidence of the Kingdom of God. Jesus does not fear death because He knows He is in the hands of the God who loves Him and is the source of life. It is out of this confidence that Jesus reaches out to Pilate: “Is that (the fact that I am King of the Godly realm) your own idea? …. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
Which Kingdom do you live for? The one ruled by fear, anxiety, self-preservation and death. Or the one ruled by the One who is truth, love, self-sacrifice and life? Jesus invites you to His Kingdom. Start living there today.