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John 18:28-40 – Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor's headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor's headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?
After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
As I read this description about Jesus standing in front of the Annas and Caiaphas and Pilate, I am struck by Jesus statement in verse 36: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Jesus makes it clear that if He wanted, He could have a heavenly army fighting on His behalf at any moment. Instead, He has allowed Himself to be arrested.
This is key to understanding the mindset of Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God; equal to God. He has ultimate standing. He has unlimited power. But Jesus held back His power to serve us. (Read Philippians 2:1-11). Instead of serving Himself and glorifying Himself, Jesus served us and glorified God. He gave up His rights and held back His power for our good. That was His mindset.
We all have choices like that, whether you recognize them or not. You can use the power of your words to build someone up or tear them down. You can use the power of your money to buy luxuries for only yourself or to help someone in need. You can use the power of your influence and experience to set someone up for success, or to help them fail.
Someone who has the same mindset as Jesus uses his power to serve others. It’s amazing – when you do that, all of the stuff that seems so big to you right now shrinks. That’s why we encourage everyone in this Church to go on a short-term mission trip at some point. That kind of selfless serving fixes your mind. Your troubles shrink and your sense of mission grows.
Jesus said, “I didn’t come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” That was His mindset. These leaders thought they were in control. They thought this was happening because of their muscle and their plan. No. They weren’t in control at all. Jesus had power to stop it. He chose not to.