33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
After the Jews evaded Pilate’s question about the formal charge against Jesus, he went into his residence to interrogate Jesus (vv. 33-38). The Jews would not get a perfunctory endorsement of their religious trial against Jesus from the governor.
Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him,
After talking to Jewish leaders about Jesus in his courtyard Pilate went back inside his residence or the Praetorium to talk to Him again.
“Are You [emphatic] the King of the Jews?”
The Jews accused Jesus of treason by His claiming to be a king (Lu 23:2). Pilate asked Him the question of whether He was the King of the Jews considering that allegation. This was not the same issue by which the Sanhedrin convicted Jesus. They condemned Him for blasphemy, not treason.
Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?”
Jesus here asked Pilate whether it was his idea that He was the King of Jews or whether others had leveled this allegation. In effect, Jesus asked Pilate whether he was dealing with a revolutionary. That question was not an issue at the Sanhedrin trial.
Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew?
Pilate’s answer to Jesus was that he was not dealing with a Jewish question. His only issue was a civil concern. Religious questions were of no issue to him. These pursuits exasperated him. The suggestion that he might be a Jew was disdainful.
Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me.
Jesus came to offer His kingdom to Israel, but they officially rejected that offer. “He came to His own things [neuter] but His own people [masculine] received Him not” (Jn 1:11). This comment by Pilate shows how true John 1:11 was. His own nation vetoed His claim to be the Messiah.
What have You done?”
Pilate asked Jesus what He did to deserve His “own nation” surrendering Him to Rome. He wanted to know how relevant the charge was against Him. He would also not rubber stamp Jewish allegations against Jesus.
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of [origin] this world.
Rather than denying that He was a King, Jesus admitted that He was a King of a different realm. Now that Israel had officially rejected Him as the Messiah, the King of Israel, His kingdom would function in the spiritual realm.
If [but it is not] My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews;
Jesus here affirmed that Pilate should have no fear of a political insurrection because He was not attempting to establish a kingdom on earth. If He were to establish a kingdom on earth at this time, His followers would flight physically for that kingdom.
Now that Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah and His offer of a physical kingdom, Jesus’ kingdom was spiritual, not physical. The word “now” deals with a point of time, the time that He spoke to Pilate.
My kingdom is not from here.”
Jesus’ kingdom is in the spiritual realm, not the physical (Jn 3:3; Co 1:13). His kingdom was no threat to Rome. He was indeed the King of the Jews but His kingdom with them still lay in the future (Mt 2:2).
A true kingdom contains spirituality.
Jesus did not say that His kingdom was not in the world; He said that it was not “of”—that is, did not have its source—from human origin (Jn 17:16). The idea is that Jesus’ kingdom is otherworldly.
Jesus did not repudiate His right to be King of the nation Israel. That would be delayed until later. The rejection of Jesus as the Messiah by the nation Israel resulted in the postponement of our Lord’s literal kingdom on earth.
Since Jesus is now a King in the spiritual kingdom, does this mean that He is now seating in the throne of David as an already and not yet kingdom of God?
JROCK, The phrase “already, not yet” is used by many commentaries today. I am skeptical of this phraseology. The word “kingdom” is very difficult to pin down in the New Testament. It is dangerous to interpret the word “kingdom” capriciously. The context must determine its meaning rather than the word per se. The nation Israel officially rejected Jesus as the Messiah-King when they attributed His claim to Messiahship to Satan. From that point Jesus ceased offering the kingdom to Israel. He will build His church instead, which is also a spiritual kingdom. However, the unconditonal covenants of the Old Testament have not yet been fulfilled. This issue is dealt with in other passages. The Davidic covenant was one of the unconditional covenants not fulfilled during Jesus’ earthly life. Thus, He is not yet seated in His kingdom, the Millennial Kingdom, yet in the future.
While I agree with your comments above, some traditional dispensationalists deny that the church is a spiritual kingdom. Some TD’s deny a spiritual kingdom all together. Are there any scriptures that teach that concept?
JROCK, there are different dimensions of the kingdom. Obviously, the unconditional covenants promise a literal, physical kingdom. However, the Bible uses the concept of “spiritual kingdom” in a broad sense such as Matthew 13. The idea of “spiritual kingdom” is also used in the narrow sense as seen in John 3:3-7; Ro 14:17; 1 Pe 2:9. Obviously, these conclusions do not imply that the church is a spiritual kingdom in the sense that covenant theology presents it.
Most TDs hold that there is such thing as a spiritual kingdom. Charles Ryrie marked my master’s thesis and he held to a spiritual kingdom albeit he could not find a better term. Here is a summary of his view in his “Basic Theology”:
The Relationship of the Church to These Kingdoms
1. To the universal kingdom. In the sense that the church is in the world it is part of God’s universal kingdom. He designed it, brought it into being, and rules over it, as He does all aspects of His universe.
2. To the Davidic/messianic kingdom. The church is not a part of this kingdom at all. When this kingdom is established the church will have been resurrected and will reign with Christ over the millennial kingdom.
3. To the mystery form of the kingdom. Since the church is part of Christendom, she is part of this concept of the kingdom.
4. To the spiritual kingdom. The true church, the body of Christ, is equivalent to this concept of the kingdom.