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The Holy Gospel according to John 18:3337

33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned


Jesus and asked him, Are you the king of the Jews?
34 Is that your own idea, Jesus asked, or did others talk

to you about me?


35 Am I a Jew? Pilate replied. Your own people and

chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have


done?
36 Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world. If it were,

my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the


Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another
place.
37 You are a king, then! said Pilate.

Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. In fact, the


reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to
the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

Sermon

INTRODUCTION
Its easy in todays world to recognise evil forces at work,
destroying lives, feeding on fear, robbing people of
dignity and freedom, destroying the planet. Its also
tempting to point the finger at ISIS or Al Qaida, or other
extreme religious groups or perhaps greedy
corporations, and say that they are the cause of such evil.

Given how insecure we can sometimes feel, it may be of


some comfort to think that there are simply good guys
and bad guys and that we are the good guys.
Some of the best stories about good and evil that have
emerged from the hands of Christian writers such as CS
Lewis or JRR Tolkien portray the subtly of evil, and help
us see how easy it is for the good guys to ally
themselves with evil through fear or anxiety, or by
fighting with each other, or by exercising power in
harmful ways, or by our apathy, when we choose to do
nothing as if that was the same as doing good.

One early Christian writer warned the church with these


words, Discipline yourselves, and keep alert. Like a
roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around,
looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Perhaps, in the aftermath of this latest act of terrorism,


its not a time to speak too loudly about the evils other
people commit, but to examine our own lives and ask
whom it is that we serve.

THE VOICE OF THE KING


Theres a chilling scene in the Gospel according to John
when Pilate, the Governor of Judea, is interrogating
Jesus. Pilate is trying to understand who Jesus really is,
and asks the question, Are you the king of the Jews?
Jesus responds by saying that he is a king, but that his
kingdom is quite unlike any kingdom the world has
known. He concludes by identifying himself as the voice
of truth, I came into the world, to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.
(John 18:37)

If these words came from the mouth of anyone else we


would call them lunatics or egomaniacs. But when Jesus
stands before Pilate, stripped of power, facing
crucifixion, his words are spoken with deep humility and
sadness. Humility, because his words are true and
sorrow because even though he really is the worlds king
he knows that many will choose not to listen to his voice.

As important as it is for us to acknowledge our feelings


with the way the world is at the moment, its even more
important for us to reflect deeply on whose voice shapes
the direction of our lives. What voice do we listen to? Do
we listen to the voice of the media, or politics, or the
babble of the Internet, which are all to often the voices of
fear, or conflict or anxiety servants of our adversary
the devil? Or do we listen to the voice of Jesus the King?

We are all affected in some way by the decisions of


global leaders or the reckless activity of terrorists or by
events beyond our control. But our hope comes from our
conviction that Jesus is King, that he reveals Gods
purpose for us, and that men and women can still hear
his call in the midst of everyday lifeif we listen.

THE CALL OF THE KING


The Book of Revelation was written to early Christians
living in a time of global upheaval. There was greed,
there were wars, there was religious violence, and there
were natural disasters. In the midst of an unraveling
world, John shared with them a vision of hope. It was a
vision of two kingdoms; the kingdom of God
overthrowing the kingdom of Satan. Johns vision opens
with a description of Jesus that is strikingly similar to the
one we see in the encounter between Pilate and Jesus in
Johns Gospel.
Jesus is described as the faithful witness; Gods Son who
really does reveal who God is to the world. John
describes Jesus as the first born from the dead; its Johns
way of saying that Jesus is Gods new beginning for
humankind, who frees us the cycle of death and conflict
that were caught up in. Finally he says that Jesus is the
ruler of the kings of the earth. Regardless of how bad
things sometimes look, Jesus is above ever other ruler,
authority and power, and will have the final victory over
the power of evil.

These descriptions gave hope to the early Christians. But


Christianity has never been a matter of having the right
information about Jesus. John recognized that Jesus calls
us into a relationship with himself, and explores that
relationship by saying three important things about how
Jesus relates to us:

John declares that Jesus is the King who loves us.


Regardless of how messed up the world seems, or how
scarred by sin our lives seem to be, regardless of how
faithless or double minded we are, when Jesus looks at
us, he looks at us with the gaze of love.
John also affirms that Jesus has freed us from our sins by
his blood. He is the king whose love propelled him so far
as to die on the cross to win us back from the powers of
evil.
Finally, through his sacrificial love Jesus has made us to
be a kingdom, priests serving his God. (Revelation 1:6) In
other words, Jesus is not a King who rules from far away.
He is the King who serves in the trenches of life and he
calls us to be with him, to be in his kingdom, and to serve
in Gods battle for a restored world.

CONCLUSION
When Pilate interrogated Jesus he was standing face to
face with the King of kings. He heard Jesus say,
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.
And yet Pilate chose to listen to the voice of his pride, to
the voice of power and to the voice of compromise.

In a certain sense that is true for all of us. We can be so


preoccupied with our own agendas, so busy pointing out
the wrong in everyone else that we drown out the voice
of Jesus in our lives. One of the things we can do at the
end of each day is simply ask the Holy Spirit to reveal
those times we have been faithful to his voice, as well as
those times we ignored his voice, or heard his voice and
turned away.

Lets imagine now, in a time of prayer, that two armies


occupy the world, one under the banner of the devil and
the other serving under the banner of Jesus the King. As
we do this were not putting ourselves in a position to
smugly judge who else is serving in what army. We do
this as a personal examination of our heart.

God reveal to us, during this day, or this week, or over


the course of this year, whom have I been serving?

Are there times when my behavior, or my attitude


towards someone, or my selfish response in a particular
situation has actually meant I have been in serving in the
army of the enemy?
God, reveal to us those times and situations in which we
have heard the genuine call of Jesus the King and
responded to him.

For those times we have served under the wrong banner


we ask for forgiveness, knowing that Jesus looks upon us
with compassion.

For those times we have heard Jesus speak, when our


hearts have been warmed by his goodness and
invitation, we give thanks.

We ask now for grace to hear the voice of Jesus in the


midst of each day, in the echo of our conscience, and in
the circumstances we face.
We ask for the grace to respond and remain with him.