KEY THOT: Jesus made a distinction between Pilate’s conception of king and kingdom with his own: “My kingdom is not of this world.” Pilate knew that Jesus was claiming to be some kind of king, but yet it seemed to Pilate that Jesus had no visible kingdom to point to. So he was puzzled by Jesus’ enigmatic statement that his kingdom is “not from the world.” Pilate is a Roman soldier, not a philosopher. But he was piqued by Jesus’ claim that he is King of a Kingdom, but not of this visible realm where human history is acted out. So, he asked rhetorically: “So you are a king?” Obviously, Pilate was unfamiliar with Hebrew and Greek worldviews that includes an invisible and eternal realm above and beyond human experience. Jesus then went on to say, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.” For Jesus, truth is not just a proposition that accords with reality or fact. Truth is ultimate reality—what is “really real”. This piqued Pilate even more and he finally blurted out his own personal confusion: “What is truth?”
Jesus came to bear witness to the Kingdom, which is invisible, invincible and inevitable: and we who are citizens are also to bear witness to the reality of this kingdom, not as a speculative apocalyptic vision about the future but as a real presence and power in the present: “You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." When the Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost, this invisible Truth becomes visible as the gifts of the Spirit are distributed. But what is seen of the Kingdom from the Day of Pentecost, though powerful is nevertheless only partial. The fullness of the Kingdom is yet to come for the King has yet to return.
Jesus came to bear witness to the Truth—the Kingdom of God which is the Ultimate Reality as opposed to the Virtual Reality foisted upon the world by the devil. We as believers are also called to bear witness to this Ultimate Reality and not to live like the world in the Virtual Reality of naturalism and secularism—as though life is all that the eyes can see. What is visible is temporal, but what is invisible is eternal: “we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:18). We are to live as citizens of the Kingdom, not just citizens of this world. We owe our allegiance not to the transient political powers of the day, but to the eternal King and his Kingdom agenda. Everything we do and say is to bear witness to that truth that the Eternal Reality of the Kingdom is now among us: we are living and working by tapping onto its powers whose source is God, through His indwelling Spirit.
As believers, no matter what our vocation is (whether in government services, corporate businesses or social enterprises), our goal is to live as people of the Kingdom, not like people of this world. They do not know the power and presence of the Kingdom of God. When we live as citizens of the kingdom, the world will see our “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17) and thereby believe that Truth is more than the Virtual Reality of materialism and humanism. To do this, we must seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, not pursue the things of this world.
Father, deliver us from spiritual blindness so that we can see beyond the visible and transient world into the invisible and eternal kingdom and live as citizens of this Kingdom. Amen.