John 18: Jesus' Identity -- Who in the World Is this Man?

by Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

Today's Bible Reading: John 18

Selected Biblical Text
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
"Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?"
"Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"
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."
"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."
"What is truth?" retorted Pilate. (John 18:33-38a NIV)

Reflecting and Thinking
John's gospel uses a lot of space and spends a lot of time telling us who Jesus is. It does this through telling us about his experiences, his human interactions, his conversations, and his teachings. Jesus' conversation with Pilate is telling. Pilate asks about Jesus' identity: "Who are you?" Pilate thinks he has the upper hand. Faithful believers know differently. Pilate does not know what truth is because he does know the One who is truth. Do we?

As we anticipate reading about the crucifixion of Jesus, the identity of Jesus becomes a crucial point. We are approaching the end of the Gospel of John. At this point in the book, how would you describe who Jesus is? What aspects of his identity are most meaningful to you? How would you answer someone who asked you the question of our title, "Who in the world is Jesus?"

Father God, we come to you in the name of Jesus, by his authority, depending on who he is and what he did so that we might have access to you. We are grateful for his demonstration of your love. We feel our frailty, our fragility. We feel our humanness. We want to be better and to do better. May we commit ourselves to knowing and acting on truth. Make us like Jesus, in his name, Amen.

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Last updated January 2019