When we look at the interview between Jesus and Pilate, we are witnesses to the difference between two kingdoms. The difference between the Roman Empire with its Jewish client leaders and the kingdom of God is like night and day.
Let us understand that no human government compares with the wonderful reign of Christ in the kingdom of God.
We will look at Pontius Pilate and compare Jewish political-religious parties with today’s political parties and finally look at a glimpse of the kingdom of God.
Who was Pilate
Who was Pilate? John 18:33-37 shows Pontius Pilatus (his Latin name) to be important during Jesus’ last days. He was a prefect, an early title similar to procurator, lower in rank than king. His job as prefect was primarily military with around 3,000 soldiers under his command. His duties also included tax collection and limited functions of judge. Charges of blasphemy against Jewish law would have held little interest for a Roman military governor, but twisting Jesus’ own words of being king, could have posed a political threat against Rome. Pilate remained unconvinced of the charges and probably saw right through the Jewish plot. When allowing the crucifixion, he insisted that the trumped up charges be posted above the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth the king of the Jews”, probably indignant for being manipulated by the Jewish political-religious leaders.
Republicans, Democrats hypocrites!
Why is Jesus’ kingdom really not of this world (John 18:33-37)? What many people may not realize is that the criticisms that Jesus made towards such parties as the Pharisees and Scribes, were criticisms of political-religious parties. In the Jewish state there was no separation of church and state as we experience in modern western democracies. The church was the state and the state was the church. So when Jesus said such things as Scribes, Pharisees hypocrites (Matthew 23:13), he would probably have said something similar to Republicans, Democrats hypocrites, if he were on earth today. The more that we compare this world’s politics with the benevolence of the kingdom of God as seen in Israel’s law and in the self-sacrifice of the king of kings, the better we understand why Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world.
A kingdom not of this world
Jesus’ reign is not of this world (John 18:33-37). What is the difference? Israel could have been a land of mutual assistance and equality. Lending in hard times without interest, no one need be poor (Deuteronomy 15:7–10; Leviticus 25:35–37;Exodus 22:25; Deuteronomy 23:19–20;Leviticus 25:36–37). They were to celebrate festivals as equals (Exodus 23:10–12;Leviticus 25:1–7, 18–24), land was to be returned to the original owners, debt written off, and slaves released (Leviticus 25). Farmers were to leave some of their crops for the marginalized (Deuteronomy 24:19–21; Leviticus 19:9–10; 23:22; Ruth 2). There was a poor tithe (Deuteronomy 14:22–29). Debt was to be forgiven (Deuteronomy 15:1–3), slavery to debt fully paid in six years (Exodus 21:2–6;Deuteronomy 15:12–18). No country of this world is like God’s kingdom.
[Reference: Barrera, Albino. Economic Compulsion And Christian Ethics. n.p.: Cambridge University Press, 2005. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 23 Nov. 2012. p. 82]
Comparing the kingdoms of this world to the kingdom of God is like night and day. Let’s become true agents of the kingdom of God on earth today so that when Jesus comes he may also say to us, “Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:31-46).