In today's scripture reading, John 18:33-37, Jesus has been arrested and handed over to Pontius Pilate who is now questioning him. During today's sermon Rev. Dimock said something about this passage that really struck me. She said that although we call it the trial of Jesus in some ways it was the trial of Pontius Pilate. I had never thought of this before. In this passage, Pilate stands at a crossroads. He can give in to the crowd to protect his own interests. Or, since he's found no basis for a charge, he can choose to release Jesus. Although he finds no wrong with him, we know that eventually he will give in and crucify Jesus. He makes the choice he believes will protect his own interests.
During the course of our lives we may sometimes find ourselves at a crossroads where we have to make a choice between serving our own worldly interests and serving God. How often do we choose the world over God? Jesus chose to serve God and others fearlessly and wholeheartedly. I believe that to live in the kingdom of heaven is to know this kind of fearlessness. It is to know the freedom that comes when we are finally able to see past the illusions of worldly wealth and power and when we "do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul" - Matthew 10:28 (NKJV).
"Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a 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.’ - John 18:36-37 (NSRVA)