By Johnny Stringer
“I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38). So said Pilate, before whose judgment seat Jesus stood. Pilate had found Jesus not guilty; but according to the premillennial theory now most popular, Pilate was wrong in his judgment, and Jesus was guilty as charged.
The crime Jesus had been charged with was sedition. He had been accused of seeking to be a king in competition against Caesar (Lk. 23:1-3). If that had been His intention, Jesus would have been guilty of a grave violation of Roman law. But according to today’s most prevalent brand of premillennialism, that is exactly what Jesus had intended to do.
This theory says that Jesus came to establish an earthly, political kingdom – a Jewish kingdom that would overthrow Rome and rule the world – but that He failed because of the Jews’ rejection of Him. According to this theory, therefore, Jesus was guilty of sedition against Rome.
Pilate, however, did not judge Him to be guilty. Why not? Simply because Jesus explained to him the nature of His kingdom. He told Pilate that His kingdom is not of the world. If it were, His servants would have fought to establish it, for carnal righting is required to set up earthly kingdoms. Jesus proceeded to explain that His kingdom is based on truth. All who submit to His truth are citizens of His kingdom, as He rules in their hearts (John 18:36-38).
On an earlier occasion Jesus had explained the nature of His kingdom to some Jews who had asked about the coming of God’s kingdom. He had told them, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Lk. 17:21). The kingdom of Christ is a spiritual kingdom which exists as He rules in the hearts of men by His truth.
Pilate understood from Jesus’ explanation that Jesus’ aim was not to set up an earthly, political kingdom. His verdict: “I rind in him no fault.” If Pilate had determined that Jesus was seeking to establish a political kingdom, he would have declared Jesus to be guilty of sedition.
The point is clear: Jesus was charged with attempting to establish an earthly, political kingdom, and Pilate found Him not guilty. What a shame that an ungodly Roman governor was able to see what multitudes of premillennialists fail to see!
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 4, p. 117
February 19, 1987