A Different Kind of King
Today’s reading from John’s gospel is at its heart the story of two men: one, Pilate a son of Rome; the other, Jesus, the Son of God. The first seeks the truth; the second witnesses to it. Pilate uses the power and authority received from his emperor to impose the rule of an oppressive kingdom on the children of Abraham. Jesus uses the authority received from his heavenly Father to work for the salvation of these children from their earthly bonds.
Jesus seeks to bring about a new, greater kingdom, one built on a heavenly foundation. In this brief passage from John, the journeys of these two sons – one that began at the heart of the Roman Empire, the other beginning in a small working class village in Galilee – intersect in the heart of Jerusalem. Jesus, who only recently was swept along by cheering, adoring crowds from Jericho to Jerusalem in advance of the Passover Feast, now finds himself at the mercy of a jeering, contemptuous crowd anxious to turn him over to the authorities. A man beloved and proclaimed by many as the Messiah just days before now finds himself very much alone.