Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.
When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.
While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”
But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. (Matthew 27:11-20)
Jesus told Pilate that he was the king of the Jews. What does that mean? He was the descendent of David and the rightful heir to the throne. He knew that. His genealogies in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke demonstrate that. But there was more to Jesus’ kingship than simply being a descendent of David. Jesus wasn’t just a man. Jesus was God.
When the prophet Samuel became old, the people of Israel became dissatisfied with the political direction of their nation. They liked Samuel, but they had no confidence in his children. So they asked him to select someone to reign over them as their king. They had decided that they wanted to have a king just like all the other nations had.
Samuel was disturbed, but God told him to go along with their request. “And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.” (1 Samuel 1:8:7 NIV). Jesus was God. Just as the people in Samuel’s day had rejected him as king, so they were once again rejecting him.
Acknowledge or unacknowledged, Jesus is king, both of the Jews—as Pilate accepted—and of the world. He is God. We can choose to submit to him as our God and king or not. But our choice will not change reality.