“Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.’ Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:36-37).
When Jesus stood trial before Pilate, before the Sanhedrin, and before Caiaphas the High Priest, Jesus stood alone. And standing alone, we think of Jesus’ disciples as cowards. But this isn’t necessarily the case. Jesus made the point to Pilate in the passage above that His kingdom was not of this world. If it was, His followers would be fighting to free Jesus.
Jesus had prepared His disciples for this day – not by training them to fight – but by pointing them to the necessity of Him being handed over to the Jews to be killed. They knew this day was coming. And even though they were looking through a glass darkly, they knew the true kingdom of God in its most powerful expression was coming in some future as Jesus had promised. His death was not an end to His kingdom, but a pathway to the kingdom; the kingdom at home in them, and the powerful kingdom to come in the future.
While on trial before the High Priest, Jesus gave us a beautiful picture of the coming of His future kingdom. “But Jesus kept silent and did not answer. Again the High Priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven’ “ (Mark 14:61-62).
Jesus told Pilate that He was born to be a king. But for now, the kingdom that Jesus established is a secret kingdom, alive in the hearts of His children. But a day is coming when the secret will be blown wide open. A day is coming when Jesus will arrive on the clouds of heaven to establish a kingdom without end; a kingdom with Jesus firmly seated at the right hand of the power of God.