A King, Not From This World, But For This World

Palm Sunday
John 18:28-40

What is your portrait of a king?

In the Scripture reading, heaven and earth are colliding with great force, with the kind of power that will change the world forever. This is the kind of power that turns everything on its head, and has the true King of the universe dying on a cross because of love.

Most often, kingdoms have been established by violence, whether that is with chariots and swords, tanks and guns, or political persuasion. In this passage, Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews” (18:33)? Pilate knew that it was his job to keep the peace. There was no room for another king, only Caesar. This is another sign that Jesus’ kingdom does not come from this world, but comes for it.

There are no markings of violence, coercion, or stealing in this kingdom. Jesus’ kingdom looks entirely different. It is one of love, rescue, and redemption. Jesus’ kingdom is colliding with the world’s kingdoms and it will over throw them through self-sacrificial love. It is the kind of love that gives and doesn’t take. It is the kind of love that subverts the violence that this world offers and exchanges it with the cruciform love pictured in verse forty. A violent offender is freed while the screaming mob calls for his release. We will find out in the scenes following that “Jesus is dying for Barabbas, for Israel, for the world. And for you and me” (N. T. Wright, John for Everyone, 116).

Is Jesus your king? How does His kingship shape your everyday living?


Kevin Snyder is Lead Pastor at Coast Hills Community Church in Surrey, BC.

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