Jesus is responding to Pilate's statement:
"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." (John 18:37)
"You are a king, then!"
Is Jesus admitting he is a king?No. "You say that I am a king. In fact..." clearly states that Jesus did not declare himself king.
Rather, Jesus is clearly stating that his purpose for appearing in the world is to teach:
"the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth."He also clarifies that those who are interested in learning the truth will hear the truth from Jesus.
Okay, let's consider this more carefully.
Let's say that a man is on trial for, say, stealing a candy bar from a store. The judge says to the defendant: "So you are a thief." To that, the defendant says, "You say that I am a thief. In fact, my purpose for going into the store was to deliver a box of food." What is the defendant doing? He is clarifying the purpose of going into the store. His purpose was obviously misinterpreted, and he is clarifying that purpose.
This is precisely what Jesus is doing. He is clarifying his purpose for his appearance on the earth.
Wasn't Jesus' purpose to die on the cross?What about the claim - made by some - that Jesus' purpose for appearing was to save us by dying on the cross?
If this was his central purpose, he would have stated it here. If it was, he would have just said:
"the reason I was born and came into the world is to die for your sins."
That would have been easy for him to say, would it not? If not at his trial, then at least in private to his disciples?
No, he didn't say this. Therefore, we cannot accept sectarian institutions' teaching that Jesus' purpose was to die for our sins.
We cannot accept it because not only did Jesus not teach this. But Jesus clearly states his purpose in John 18:37.
Therefore, by learning Jesus' teachings, we are thereby accepting Jesus' purpose for coming.
This also means that this purpose was the means whereby we are saved. By learning the teachings of Jesus.
Why was Jesus persecuted then?Jesus was persecuted because of his teachings.
Jesus wasn't persecuted because he was walking barefoot. Or because he had long hair or because he didn't own a house. And he certainly wasn't persecuted because he was a "zealot" as some have recently claimed.
The four gospels and other historical accounts clearly document that the reason Jesus was persecuted was that his teachings threatened those in power.
This means that Jesus was persecuted for his teachings.
Thus we can easily arrive at the conclusion that this purpose of Jesus' appearance - to teach the truth - is also the reason for his persecution.
Did Jesus accept his persecution for his teachings?The point is that Jesus' teachings were so important that he was willing to be persecuted on their behalf.
We also know that Jesus taught what God wanted him to teach. How do we know this?
"For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (John 12:49-50)This statement clearly states that Jesus' teachings are coming from the Supreme Being. And Jesus states clearly that God sent him. Furthermore, since Jesus says, "His command leads to eternal life," we can know that Jesus' teachings - what God commanded him to say - have the ability to save us.
This also means Jesus was teaching the truth as a service to God and a service to all of us - to save us.
And what was Jesus' most important teaching?
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)This means that the act of Jesus teaching, as well as the content of Jesus' teachings, relate directly to loving service: Loving service to the Supreme Being.
And because Jesus was persecuted for his teachings, we can also know that Jesus' persecution was part of his service to the Supreme Being.
Yes, Jesus is teaching loving service. And he is practicing loving service.
And this is precisely how Jesus can save us. By learning from his teachings and seeing his dedication to his service. His ultimate commitment to his loving service to the Supreme Being.
This testifies to Jesus' love for the Supreme Being. And his love for all of us.
*Here is the translation of this verse from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
Pilate said to him, “So you are a leader?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a leader. The reason I was born and have appeared in the material world is to testify to the Truth. Everyone who abides in Truth hears my voice.” (John 18:37)