Here is a sermon from the archives for Christ the King/Reign of Christ. It calls the church to let the truth test us. It mentions the Gulf of Tonkin incident that was part of the history of the Vietnam War, but I can’t help thinking about the runup to the War in Iraq and the question of whether there really were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It’s interesting to reflect on what truth is now that we have survived yet another campaign season replete with lies and half-truths.
The King of Truth
A Sermon on John 18:28-19:16
Christ the King
“What am I looking at here?” Pilate wondered as he went back into his headquarters. He had gone outside to meet with the religious authorities of Jerusalem because it made sense to respect their sensitivities when possible. It was the day of preparation for the Passover, and if these leaders had gone inside Pilate’s office, they would have become ceremonially unclean, and unable to eat the Passover meal.
“What am I looking at here?” Pilate wondered as he went back into his office. Is this Jesus a zealot, somebody like that terrorist Barabbas who would stop at nothing to try to get his way? What a nuisance these people are! We crucify them, but here come some more to take their places. Or is Jesus one of those harmless kooks, thinks he’s the Messiah or something, but not the kind that’s going to raise an army and give us trouble.” Us being the imperial government.
Well, whatever this Jesus turned out to be, Pilate’s agenda was to do what served the empire. And what served the empire was what kept these hotheads in Jerusalem under control.
“So,” Pilate said as he strode into his office, “are you the quote-unquote ‘King of the Jews?’”
Notice how Jesus immediately began examining Pilate. “Do you really want to know,” Jesus asked, “or are you just repeating what you heard?”
Pilate realized this Jesus was no lightweight. “Do I look like a Jew?” he answered impatiently. “It’s your people and your leaders that turned you over to me. Tell me, what did you do?”
“We’re not talking a worldly kingdom here,” Jesus replied. “My kingdom isn’t like yours. If it were, my followers would be fighting to save me. But I’m not that kind of king.”
“So, are you a king or not?” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You tell me. I was born for this: to witness to the truth—to point to it, to illumine it, to illustrate it, you might say. Everyone committed to the truth recognizes my voice, listens, heeds my voice.”
What makes Jesus king is that he is the truth, the way, the TRUTH, and the life. He is the king of truth, the ultimate truth by which everything else is judged. Jesus is the King of kings because he is the truth. And he has the authority and the ability to examine every king, every regime, every person, every loyalty, every commitment, every agenda.
Those who claim to follow this king, Jesus, those who claim to serve the truth listen to his voice above all others. The followers of the truth let the light shine into every corner of themselves and their world. If the light exposes darkness, so be it. If the truth calls something into question, so be it. Jesus is the truth. Everyone who cares for the truth listens to his voice.
“What is truth?” Pilate mused aloud. Was Pilate really interested? Did he care about the truth? Maybe. Maybe.
But Pilate cared about other things more. (more…)