Jesus’ knew how to turn the tables. I am constantly amazed by how brilliant his quick witted responses were, and they always seem to get straight to the heart of the matter, or better said, the heart of the man. This quick exchange with Pontius Pilate is one of those times.
The first question out of Pilate’s mouth was about Jesus’ Kingship. Jesus does not answer His question, but responds with a question of his own. I am guessing that Pilate was caught off guard by this response. Most people in Jesus’ situation would be groveling for mercy, but not Jesus. Jesus wanted to focus on Pilate’s heart.
Jesus wanted to show the source of Pilate’s question. Was Pilate merely a mockingbird, or was he genuinely seeking the answer to this question? The truth was self-evident by Pilate’s prideful response, “Am I a Jew?” Pilate’s questioning of the Kingship of Christ was not a question from the heart, it was academic.
And this is the crux of the problem with the World and their relationship with Jesus. For most people, interest in Jesus is academic, it is trivial. Many people are merely curious about Jesus, just like Pilate, and just like Herod, but curiosity won’t bring you into the Kingdom of God.
To enter into the Kingdom of God, something must happen deep within your heart. There must be a thirst and a hunger for righteousness that is unexplainable, supernatural. There must be an irresistible force drawing you to the throne of Jesus Christ.
Here is a parallel conversation between Jesus and Peter found in Matthew 16:15-17. Notice the difference.
“[Jesus] said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ’Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.’“
The issue is the same, is Jesus the King (Christ)? For Peter, God had revealed this truth to him, for Pilate, God had not. Pilate was asking because flesh and blood (people) had told him, not because God had told him.
Here in lies the application. You are either Pilate or Peter. One seeks Jesus as King from their heart, and one seeks Jesus as King from their head. Which way would you characterize your relationship with Christ? If you are Pilate, then don’t respond with pride, but respond with humility, and ask God for a heart that hungers for a King.
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” – Mark 1:15