Christ the King 25.11.12 John 18.33-37

18 11 2012

The Voice of Truth

This passage is a really charged exchange. Jesus and Pilate in a face-off.

In my opinion it’s an outrage that the the Lectionary stops at verse 37. The drama is not complete until we hear verse 38: ‘Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”‘

By the way, I wrote about this passage in my book ‘Barefoot Discple’, reporting on a time when I got people to act this dialogue out. It was amazing. People found many different ways of doing Pilate – but the voice of Jesus was always calm.

John 18.33-37

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ 34Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ 35Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 36Jesus 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.’ 37Pilate 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.’


To help give shape to the reflection I am going to suggest three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels. You might prefer to stay in one area. But beware of staying in your comfort zone. That’s rarely where profound preaching comes from.

‘Head Questions’

  1. Why did Pilate start with the question,’are you the king of the Jews?’
  2. Where is Jesus’ kingdom from?
  3. What does it mean to ‘testify to the truth’?

‘Heart Questions’

  1. How do you imagine the tension between Pilate and Jesus?
  2. What do you feel when you read Jesus’ words about hearing his voice?
  3. Do you like Pilate’s final question (v38)?

‘Hand Questions’?

  1. What personal responsibilty flows from following Jesus?
  2. What can you do to help yourself and others hear Jesus’ voice?
  3. Why have you come into the world – what, as far as you understand it, is your personal vocation?


These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you. That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up – working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands. Take your time.



One response

24 11 2012
11/25/2012 Testify to the Truth | ForeWords

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