A Different Kind of King

What is the label that you have given to Jesus?

In John 18, Pilate questioned Jesus about the label “King of the Jews.” But Jesus’ answer makes it clear that he isn’t a Jewish revolutionary. He’s not an emerging dictator. He certainly isn’t raising up an army to compete against rival nations. His “kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)

What is the label that you have given to Jesus?

Based on the evidence of our lives, we have assigned a label to Jesus’ role in our lives. Whatever you currently feel or think about Jesus, I want us to set that aside, and instead consider the past year of actions, words, decisions and priorities. How have we related to him? If we had to give a title to his function in our lives, what would it be?
I wrote down a few possibilities:

-Wisdom Consultant            -My Sustaining Grace
-A Future Priority                 -Role Model for My Kids
-Profound Encourager         -Good Friend
-Personal Therapist              -Magnificent Savior
-Marriage Glue                      -Sunday Morning Theme
-Judge of My Mistakes        -Pathway to Emotional Health
-A Growing Interest             -Our Peace and Comfort

In Pilate’s world, every kingdom has a King, perhaps the most venerated position in a culture. But the worldly category of a “King” is simply too small for Jesus –like trying to fit the Pacific Ocean into a fish bowl. And our labels are too small for Jesus as well. As Theologian Miroslav Volf puts it, Jesus is not concerned with the “earthly truth of power, but the power of truth.”

Jesus is the one, true King, but any attempt to explain his Kingship must center on his mission—“to bear witness to the truth”. He is the King of truth, and his testimony to the truth is his sovereign authority. There was no need for his disciples to fight to prevent his arrest because he is not fighting an earthly battle. His cosmic enemy is falsehood…it’s “darkness”, as John puts it in John 1:5. As he says in John 12:31, He is casting out the ruler of the world—the deceiver, the father of lies.
We need to consider our labels for Jesus, but not in the same way that Pilate was convinced he stood in judgment over Jesus; not in the way he thought he had the authority to pronounce his verdict. These labels are a marker of how we have related to Jesus, not the actual definition of his identity and verification of his sovereignty (or lack thereof). We are in desperate need of intentional reflection on the identity of Jesus Christ, the purpose of his mission, the reality of his resurrection and his imminent return. We need God to help us relate to our Savior King in a new way.

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